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C[|nilier0itp of JI3ott|) Carolina 

Collection ot il3ortf) Catoliniana 
ftom tl)e Eiftrarj? of 



This book is due on the last date stamped 
below unless recalled sooner. It may be 
renewed only once and must be brought to 
the North Carolina Collection for renewal. 

Afta=4'3e g^ 

Form No. A-369 


A Sketch and Letters 

Descriptive of Life in Person County 

in Former Days 

By Alexander R. Foushee 


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A Sketch and Letters Descriptive 

of Life in Person County 

in Former Days 






Durham, N. C. 



To the Men and Women of Person County; to those old 
friends who hax'e wrought and toiled and grozvn old along 
with me; and to the younger generation, the sturdy offspring 
of old acquaintances of mine, with the sunlight of youth 
iyi their faces and the love of native soil in their hearts; 
I dedicate zvith affection these rambling notes of an old 
man's recollections. 


The past always has its interest whether it is the history 
of a nation or of a village. The old inhabitant likes to tell 
that he remembers when the place where that block of stores 
stands was a cornfield, or the site of that factory, a frog 
pond; and the people laugh and say, "The old man is 
trotting out his frog pond again." But he will always have 
listeners. A few years ago I wrote a letter to the Roxboro 
Courier giving some reminiscences of the early days of our 
town. It was so kindly received that subsequently I wrote 
other letters until I had covered almost the whole period 
of the town's later life. I had no thought that these letters 
would ever be published in book form, and it is now being 
done because of requests of many friends. 

The letters as published are not in the exact order in 
which they were written, as will appear from the dates they 
bear, but are rearranged so as to follozv more consecutively 
the times they describe, ivhile parts of some of them have 
been omitted as not being of historical nature. 

No claim is made that they have any great historic value 
except so far as a little account of the people and doings 
of a small community may be of worth. I shall be happy if 
this little volume proves of any pleasure and interest to my 
old friends or their children. 

Alexander Rountree Foushee. 


An old man's memory lingers lovingly in the past. The 
faces of the boys and girls he knew as child and youth 
smile kindly and merrily to him out of the days that are 
no more, and he holds communion with them more famil- 
iarly than with the friends of later years. How clear and 
distinct the picture comes of that far day when I played as 
a child on the clean white sandy yard of my father with 
my brothers and sisters. In all there were eleven of us and 
I was near the middle, some older, some younger. 

We lived on a fair-sized plantation of some 450 acres, 
on a beautiful ridge in what is now Bushy Fork Town- 
ship of Person county, North Carolina. There were some 
negro slaves ; but I remember that the real slave there 
was my mother "cumbered about much serving." She 
was ever busy, so busy at times that I really seem to 
have seen her little. And what with child-bearing and 
child-rearing and the multitudinous duties of the farm 
and home the candle of her life early burned out. I 
was but 13 years old when we laid her dear form in 
the grave but a few yards from the house. She was 
Frances Rountree, born and reared in Little River Town- 
ship in Orange county. Her world included little more than 
the neighborhood where she spent her years as girl, wife 
and mother; for few traveled far beyond the environs of 
their birthplace. 

I think with genuine pride of my father, Adnah Camp- 
bell Foushee. It may be that he knew and thought little how 
to approach familiarly to his children ; we might possibly 
appear to him as incidents to the life he lived ; for parents of 
my acquaintance then knew nothing of the modern idea of 
deliberate companionship of parent and child. Children 
were to be fed, clothed, sent to school, taught to work and 
to obey implicitly. Sentiment had little place. Besides, the 
world then was young — at least in Bushy Fork, — and my 

lather's farm was a secluded part of earth. The sounds of 
that big, far away world with its cities and its crowded 
haunts of men were but faint echoes there ; the hand of 
governmental authority seldom intruded and my father 
was in a small way a patriarch. To his own family he was 
authority and protector; even the necessities of life were 
nearly all the products of himself, his family and his farm. 
And like him were his neighbors. They lived not near 
enough to hear each other's dogs bark. 

But though I never was close to my father as a child, 
I know now, as I did not then, that he wrought well. 
What he accomplished came of his own powers, his own 
character. Religious, though never a church member, 
he called his children about him Sundays, read the Bible 
and under his leading all sang hymns, those hymns that 
led the way of Puritan Christianity into the wilderness 
of the New World. He was honest, pitilessly honest to 
all except to himself ; for he gave more than the measure 
pressed down and running over, and he often labored 
for others without pay because he would not ask pay. 
Simple in his life ; modest, almost shunning the world ; 
really affected by attention of others, as a remembered 
incident of a candidate for office marking him for atten- 
tion recalls to me ; yet stern almost to harshness in re- 
quirements of uprightness in his children. He was withal 
quite competent to look after himself for by his own efforts 
he accumulated a good estate, reared and modestly educated 
his children and avoided those uncertain ventures that so 
often dragged men into financial losses. If in my early 
years I failed, perhaps, to understand him, and if he failed 
then to demonstrate affection to me, I am glad that in his 
later years he quietly indicated a certain pride in me, and I 
know now the fine qualities of the silent, yet level-headed 
man; for I believe no act of his ever was unworthy a good 

Page Six 

man. He died in 1887. full of years, four score and six, 
and he sleeps beside my mother. 

Simple was the life into which I was first ushered back 
in 1839; crude were the implements of civilization. Food 
and clothing were the outcome chiefly of home industry; 
life's needs were few and easily supplied; field and forest 
about my home were ignorant of sound of the steam whistle ; 
the nearest railroad was many tens of miles away ; the 
school house was a log hut of one room and the Blue Back 
Speller was a high mark in literature ; the arrival of a 
stranger in the neighborhood was an event like a visitor 
from another world; of books there were few, and indeed 
little needed; for there were the Bible, Fox's Book of 
Martyrs; and Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress; while nature 
with her book of fields, forest and seasons, her snow storms 
and her freshets ever called one to read ; the teeming world 
beyond with cities and men was all but unknown and the 
noises of the world of business and of politics in State and 
nation drifted into that community planted in the woods 
like spent echoes. 

The world was small, must be small ; from the highest 
hill top, one could see on a clear day almost, perhaps, to its 
utmost limits and those who had journeyed far away out of 
the community, going fifty, one hundred or possibly two 
hundred miles surely must have gotten nearly to the bound- 
ary. Such were my childish ideas. 

At seven years I made my entry into school, a little log 
building that stood over on the edge of my father's farm. 
Here were the neighbor boys and girls, most of whom I 
knew. Among them was the determined little brown-eyed 
girl who years after became my wife. Her father owned 
the farm adjoining my father's and his home sat upon the 
opposite hill two miles away. James O. Bradsher, of happy 
memory, taught the school. The school world about me was 
strange, and I eagerly sought knowledge here where doubt- 

Page Seven 

less it was scanty enough, but the teacher was sincere and 
earnest. The school room was crowded with live young 
folks and the teacher's task was to keep them busy. If his 
method of doing this was to make them all study aloud so 
that the hum of voices as from a bee hive was heard many 
yards from the school, this was because the teacher was 
following custom as his guide. Teaching then was not a 
science nor even an art. North Carolina had already then 
an established public school system but no schools for 
teachers had been conceived ; furthermore all my teachers 
were male and one would have been considerd silly to sug- 
gest that the best teacher of the child is a woman. The 
patrons of the community looked around for a youth of 
character who wrote a good hand and gave him the job of 
teaching their children. 

This my first teacher, James O. Bradsher, was a fine 
type of young man, intelligent, sympathetic and of sturdy 
character. I held his friendship through the years and as my 
first wife was his niece he was often a welcome visitor in 
my house. He lived to a great age, a good, gray old man, 
friend and counsellor of his neighbors, a sweet-spirited 
Christian, the head of a splendid family of sons and daugh- 
ters. The impression he made upon my tender years has 
continued through my whole life. School sessions were 
brief, chiefly in the season when there was no farm work. 
Teacher followed teacher in quick succession. 

My sixth teacher was my own brother, James. My 
memory loves to rest upon this kindly serious forward-look- 
ing young fellow with the gleam of ambition and hope m 
his eyes. To me he was like Reuben, with a sort of solic- 
itious thought of his young brothers, such as was manifest 
to Joseph and Benjamin, sons of Israel. With decided 
tendencies toward the student, he made some name in the 
neighborhood. Later he attended the school of Samuel W. 
Hughes at Cedar Grove in Orange county where he soon 

Page Eight 

became assistant teaclicr. In 1855, at twenty-cic^ht years of 
age, he passed away, a victim of typhoid fever. Narrow 
the confines of the world into which he was born ; limited 
his opportunities ; far from the stimulating influence of 
cities and educational centers ; yet it is easy to bcHeve that 
his sturdy determination and character would have broken 
the barriers of an almost frontier life and made him leader 
and thinker. 

Typhoid fever that carried him ofT swept through all 
my father's family and the same year took my brother, Ad- 
dison and even the bright young doctor, Samuel Jacobs, 
who ministered to the family at this time. It was no un- 
usual thing for whole families to be almost blotted out by 
its blight. Medical science and the laboratory had not then 
learned the secret of the germ; nor how to fight and con- 
quer typhoid. Religion and the pulpit afforded only the sad 
consolation that "It Was God's Hand." Many a young 
man and young woman of those early days who carried the 
possibilities of fine citizenship, whose intellect and char- 
acter would have adorned our State and enriched our so- 
ciety were lost through this fell disease. 

The most far-reaching event of my early life came in my 
fourteenth year when at Mr. Green D. Satterfield's request 
of my father for one of his boys to work in his store I 
was selected and was thrust at this tender age into the 
midst of strangers at the village of Roxboro, which sat 
upon the rugged hills in the center of the county. Here 
was the court house and whatever currents of the outside 
world swept into this hilly, secluded country eddied in the 
village. It saw the visiting judge and lawyer from other 
towns ; the preacher had knowledge of far-ofif places ; trade 
and business brought thither all the county to exchange 
ideas and commodities; the slave dealer from "down south" 
stopped over occasionally, and the stage coach every other 
day or so with the noise of horses' hoofs and bugle and 

Page Nine 

shouts of the driver plunged through the village pausing 
long enough to snatch refreshing food and drink and to 
afford sight of strange passenger faces. So difTerent it was 
from the quiet farm in the forest-covered hills nine miles 
away, with its simple life and brother and sister play- 
mates ! 

My father brought me to the village on a Sunday, Jan- 
uary 31, 1853, and returned the same day, little knowing the 
homesick heart he left behind. Clad in my coarse home- 
spun and visibly bewildered, I easily became the victim of 
the thoughtless teasing of the boys of the town. When one 
boy older and larger pushed me in derision to the ground 
I unhappily felt that no one was more wretched. Soon, 
however, came adjustments to the new surroundings and kind 
hearts arose to restore the even balance of thought. My 
mind quickly became alive to the sights and faces of this 
new and, to me, pulsing world, and its people and events 
were indelibly photographed on my young memory and I 
soon came to know nearly all the people of the county. 

Two and a half years had passed quickly in the service of 
Mr. Satterfield when I, too, in the fateful year of 1855, con- 
tracted typhoid fever and returned to my home. After six 
months of sickness and recuperation I resumed my work 
of merchant and clerked for J. A. Lunsford & Brother, at 
High Hill in Person county, for about three years until 
1859, when I entered school at Leasburg. The next few 
years carried me through many changes, farmer at the 
old home, clerk in Roxboro in the store of Hamlin & Hunt, 
deputy postmaster and, finally, soldier. 

The decades of the 50's following the Mexican War car- 
rying for me personally so many changes seems now, as 
I look back on it, quiet and uneventful enough in Person 
county. Nationally it was marked by great political discus- 
sion and the noise of those great constitutional debates 
thundered across the whole country ; but in our secluded 

Page Ten 

country life tlie reapers reaped in the summer's sun, the fall 
gathered its crops and the winter drew the family circle 
about the log fire ; there was little or no industrial or com- 
mercial progress, one felt that all things would be always 
the same and no one desired a change. Yet surely there 
was a deep undercurrent of restlessness ; social and indus- 
trial life was stagnating, and young men were listening with 
credulity to the whispers of the West, the call of opportunity- 
Here, they said, the land was worn out ; there lands were 
fertile and fresh and cheap. Scarcely a week passed but 
word came that some one of our neighbors had gone to 
Texas ; there was a growing tendency to leave North Car- 
olina for the big cotton farms and ranches of Texas and 
the Western States. This desire to seek new opportunities 
entered my father's home. First, my brother John, in 1856, 
turned westward to Texas and Colorado where he spent the 
rest of his life among those hardy sons of America who 
subdued the West. Thomas, in 1857, went to a Ten- 
nessee town, where a stranger and without money 
he purchased at $10,000.00 a tract of land and 
sold it the same day for a profit, and later went on to 
Texas where he speculated successfully in seed oats until 
the war called him to arms. Next, went Harvey in 1859, to 
Texas, where he was overseer of a cotton farm for one 
year, but the second year brought him home again. 

Strange are the mutations of time. Of those Person 
boys who obeyed the Western call, many found the for- 
tunes they sought, a few did not. It has been my lot to 
greet in later years many of these wanderers returned, 
myself almost their only surviving acquaintance and hear 
their wondering exclamations at what marvels of progress 
time has brought to North Carolina and to our county. 

The five years beginning 1860 were for my native South 
a period of feverish excitement which penetrated to the re- 
motest sections. At first, by the fireside, at the school, at 

Page Eleven 

church, wherever neighbors met, there was much talk of 
Constitution, of State's Rights, of Slavery, of coercion 
and of resistance to the "arrogance of the North." To 
most, it seemed an easy task to meet any invasion and to 
defend Southern soil ; but for some few there were concealed 
doubts and fears. And then came the rumor followed by 
the undoubted truth of Fort Sumter taken, Lincoln's call 
for troops in the North and the call to arms in the South 
to maintain freemen's rights ; and the whole land was swept 
into red war. 

Light-hearted boys, who had played their school-boy 
pranks, pulled the girls' hair and locked out the teacher, 
now put on their accoutrements of war, said farewell to 
heavy-hearted mothers and serious fathers, and went forth 
to battle. My father and his neighbors yielded their sons, 
and the farms were left with the old men and the women and 
the negroes — negroes who were the innocent cause of the 
deadly strife but who, to their everlasting praise, were true 
to their masters and faithful for four years to their trust. 

My brother, Haywood, enlisted at the first call and fol- 
lowed the path of duty steadfast until, with his great leader, 
he laid down his arms at Appomattox and returned un- 
scathed to take up again in 1865 the noble task of tilling 
the soil. Another brother, Legrande, died in an army hos- 
pital near Charlottesville and his dust mingles with the soil 
of Virginia. Still another, Harvey, died of wounds in an 
army hospital in Wilson, N. C, while my brother Thomas, 
volunteering at the beginning of the war in Texas, died 
of fever in a few weeks ; my brother, John, joined the 
colors in the West and came unhurt through the fires of 
war. I, too, was called into the government service and 
served in the conscripting office and in other capacities 
until near the war's close I was placed in the line and sent 
with other troops to the defense of Fort Fisher. Many 

Page Twelve 

of our neiglibor boys fell ; many returned without leg or 
arm or otherwise maimed. 

The relentless hand of war swept away one-half of an 
entire generation of strong men. Inch by inch a proud 
people were beaten back to helplessness. The guns that 
stilled the heartbeat of gallant men, broke the hearts of 
Southern women, widowed them, made them childless, but 
did not shatter their unyielding spirit. Food became ex- 
hausted, linen gave place to cotton and cotton turned to 
rags, but their rugged souls fought on. 

At last, leader and led laid aside gun and sword and again 
returned to civil life, thinking again to take up the broken 
thread of their lives. It mpant much to have lived through 
such a time. No man or woman came through this period of 
struggle and sacrifice and sorrow who was not made finer 
and stronger. It was an education to the unlearned, a refin- 
ing to alloyed souls ; it gave sinews to flabby spirits. 

When the end came, I returned to the old farm and 
planted a crop, worked and harvested it. The home circle 
had grown small. My father had married again, my step- 
mother bearing the romantic name of Jane Gray ; my older 
sister, Rebecca Jane, had married Robert Anderson, a 
farmer in Orange county near Cedar Grove ; my brothers, 
James, Addison, Harvey, Thomas and Legrande had passed 
away, the last three years in Confederate service; John was 
in the Golden West ; I found only my sister, Elizabeth, 
and my brothers, Haywood and Burns, now at the old 
hearth-stone. I was twenty-six, in splendid health, and 
during that summer tilled my father's land and beheld the 
blade grow to fruitage in the sunny field, and felt that peace 
had once more come to bless me and mine. At night, after 
the day's tasks were done, we talked of the struggle now 
ended and of those who had made the supreme gift for a 
cause that was lost. 

My tastes, however, were not for Ihc farm; my former 

Page Thirteen 

experience led me again to seek the life of tradesman and 
merchant. There were temptations to go to Winston and 
to Durham, then rapidly growing towns ; but in the fall of 
1865, I came back to Roxboro and sought and obtained a 
partnership with my former employer, G. D. Satterfield. 
He reposed in me his implicit trust which, I believe I can 
say, I never failed. 

I desire here to pay a tribute to this old man, also a 
native of the county. He was a strong man both in mind 
and character that manifested itself in a strong and rugged 
countenance. By force and energy he had builded well, and 
wielded a large influence in the alTairs of his fellows 
throughout his life. He accumulated a good estate and was 
a man of vision, which in a large field would have made 
him a man of note. His wife, too, was a strong, well-bal- 
anced woman of kind heart and unflinching character. They 
reared a large family whom they educated as well as the 
schools of the day permitted. One of them, Fletcher, 
fell at the very front of Pickett's famous charge at Gettys- 
burg. Another, Clement, was a young man of bright intellect, 
charming manners, and one of my truest friends. Another, 
Mrs. Ida Winstead, lives today to grace the life and society 
of our town. 

The village in 1865 was little changed from the days 
when I first knew it, except that many of the familiar faces 
were gone ; many of the young boys and girls were now 
the heads of families and there were new faces of children. 
I worked hard to please my kindly old partner and to gain 
a place in business. The customers were mainly farmers 
from the county, and it was my desire by industry and fair 
dealing to secure their confidence and I know that I gained 
and held their friendship through all the years. This is a 
great solace to me in my old age. They were good men, 
too, and I held for them great respect and affection. 

Many of the people who had grown to maturity in the 

Page Fourteen 

old days, thought, tlic war over, things would settle back 
to the old ways. The slaves were free, it was true, but 
surely there would be the leisure class supported by large 
acres who would rule and enjoy the fruits of life while 
others would toil and labor as before. They were quickly 
undeceived. The end of the war seemed to have brought 
new ideas ; the individual demanded a place and a reward 
no matter what was his family backing. Business of various 
kinds sprang up and the new men showed scant respect 
for social and business ideas that once prevailed. New 
men from families formerly of little note in the community 
came into power and influence and jostled the old in the 
way. Energy, business ability and general efficiency were 
the watchwords that opened the door of success now. We 
were living in a new world. 

Perhaps our county was slower than other communities 
to get into the swing of the new tide of events; for we 
were almost a frontier. High hills east and south and hills 
and sullen streams north and west had always shut our 
people in and discouraged intercourse with other communi- 
ties. Such streams as Hyco, Mayo, Country Line and Flat 
River were frequently flooded and impassable. The few 
bridges were often washed away. The roads were bad and 
getting worse, for adequate systems of working them had 
not been devised. No railroads touched our soil and 
more than two decades passed before the leaven worked 
results here and before the locomotive and the new con- 
trivances of modern life came to sweep us into touch with 
the great busy life of the wide world. 

The days of reconstruction did not ravage our county 
nor distress our people as it did other parts of the land. 
We were a remote community ; but we heard the stories of 
its baleful progress and talked much about its events : the 
Ku Klux Klan; the killing of Stevens at Yanceyville; the 
struggles of Albion W. Tourgee, the "carpet-bag" judge, 

Page Fifteen 

who rode the district; the fanatics in Congress wishing to 
humiHate the South; the false ideas taught the negroes — 
the tragedy of it all ! And there was comedy too ; for did 
not the negroes' eyes roll white as they beheld horsemen 
in white drink gallons of water without stopping? Many 
wild stories were told and many false alarms were sounded. 

About this time another change took place at the old home 
in the hills. My stepmother, Jane Gray, having died, my 
father, in 1869, married, a third time, Jacobina Milner, a 
good woman, who survived him many years. 

I had long since become convinced that life would be 
incomplete without a wife, a helpmeet, and in 1869 I mar- 
ried Bettie Wilkerson. I smile now as I recall the joy that 
came to me when I received, in the midst of a busy day 
at the store, with customers thronging in, the letter that 
told me I was accepted by her. She was the daughter of 
my father's near neighbor, Stephen Wilkerson, likewise the 
owner of a large farm, an excellent and successful citizen. 
His wife was Mary O'Neal Bradsher and they reared a 
large and strong family of sons and daughters. 

The choice of the wife of a man's youth determines in 
no small degree a man's career; her character and her 
capacity and her sympathy may make him stronger and 
better than he really is. Truly, Bettie Wilkerson was more 
than wife and the mother of my children; she was for 
thirty-five years during the period of my middle life, friend, 
counsellor, guide, and inspiration. Her sympathy never 
failed ; her help never faltered ; her counsel was always wise 
and I pause to pay my tribute of praise to her devotion to 
her home, her children, her church, her community ; and 
whatever I was of worth through those years, I may say 
with truth, has to be attributed in great part to the young 
woman of my county who took her place by my side. 

We were married on January 5, 1869, by the venerable 
preacher, John E. Montague, in her father's home amid the 

Page Sixteen 

hills where I had roamed as a boy. We set up housekeeping 
in Roxboro. Our children were three, Howard Alexander, 
William Linwood and James Louis. Those were happy days 
as we toiled together and watched the children one by one 
grow and develop into youths. Upon them we centered our 
hopes, our fortunes, and our toil. For what is the end of 
man's life but to project it onward into the future through 
the lives and well being of children and grandchildren? 

With the growth of my eldest son, I began to feel a deep 
personal interest in securing good schools in Roxboro ; for 
I desired my children to be educated — a feeling that was 
likewise shared by my wife with even deeper conviction. 
I had had small opportunity of education and I wished my 
sons to have every advantage education might give. I joined 
with my neighbors, particularly my friend and closest 
neighbor, J. A. Long, who believed the same way, and 
gradually under our influence, our town became blessed with 
good schools. I desire here to make special mention of one 
of the teachers, Miss Lucy Stanfield, (Mrs. George Lans- 
dell), who was an excellent teacher and deeply impressed 
my own children in their tender years. She lived in my 
home many of the months of her work in Roxboro, for 
in those days the teachers were boarded by turn in different 
homes as part of their compensation. It was a time of 
great joy, both to parents and the boys, when she stayed with 
us. Other teachers were scholarly and patient and competent, 
but her name has ever been a household word of respect and 

There had not been a public free school in our village. 
From the late 60's until very recent years, the village chil- 
dren were taught in private schools altogether, and thus it 
fell to a few of us to keep our schools going. It is inter- 
esting to note that not until after the war did the woman 
school teacher begin her real work, since schools for boys had 
been uniformly taught by men. Women are doubtless the 

Page Seventeen 

best, the most sympathetic teachers because they understand 
children best, so I am inclined to think this is one of the good 
things the new day we live in has brought. 

The two or three decades following the war saw many 
other changes and movements. Most interesting was the 
breaking up of the large landed estates that existed in the 
first half century of our State's history, the coming of 
small farms into the possession of the former renters and 
overseers, and more and more into the hands of industrious 
negroes ; the rise of industrialism in towns and crossroads, 
and particularly the realization of the dignity of labor. It 
has taken a long time for men and women to learn that 
it is not degrading to labor with one's own hands. 

During those years, there was also a great growth in 
the demand for more education and better schools. Temper- 
ance was a subject much discussed ; societies for promoting 
it were organized over the county. Judge Edwin G. Reade, 
distinguished lawyer of the county, Congressman and later 
State Supreme Court Judge, was a prominent advocate of 
temperance and wrote pamphlets on the subject in the name 
of "Picklerod." In addition to this a great wave of religious 
fervor swept over our county. This was manifested particu- 
larly in protracted meetings, which were held for many days 
in succession, attended by great crowds of people. The 
speakers were often eloquent and powerful and large num- 
bers were added to the churches, particularly the Method- 
ist and the Baptist, whfch grew in membership and influence 
during this period. 

An evangelist of singular power who came to Roxboro 
in 1879 was Mrs. Mary Moon, a Quakeress. It was 
during her preaching that I decided to join a church. My 
wife was a Baptist and since my own belief was the same, I 
joined that church. There were but few Baptists in the 
village and we built a small church on Main Street on the 
site where now is the Crowell garage. Religion must ex- 

Pagc Eighteen 

press itself through a denomination so I took a deep in- 
terest in the little church. Generous was the reception 
given it by the Methodists of the town, who formed the 
majority of the inhabitants. The little group grew until 
the church is today a strong organization with a splendid 
membership. I want to say that our community has never 
been cursed by those unhappy and often bitter denomina- 
tional antagonisms that so often have marred the life of 
small towns, but the people have maintained, except in rare 
instances, that spirit of Christian brotherliness which has 
made relisfious life in Roxboro wholesome. 

I cannot refrain here from paying a passing tribute to 
an early pastor of our church, Joseph H. Lamberth. His 
pastorate, beginning in 1885, continued for many years, 
and he lived many of those years in my home. With modest 
attainments as a scholar he was yet a tremendous force. 
His sympathies were universal and his knowledge of 
human nature was great. His generous nature, his kind- 
ness, his ready self-sacrifice, his fervor, his sense of humor 
gave him great popularity, while his courage and daring 
gave him influence. At one time, I doubt not he commanded 
as wide an influence in the county as any other man and, 
though he was intensely human, his influence was always 
for hi"her things. He v/as my beloved friend as well as my 
pastor. He influenced my life deeply, and laid his impress 
upon the hearts and minds of the youths of our county. 

Fortune was kind to mc and it was a great joy to me 
that I was able to put my sons in college. In 1885 my 
oldest son, Howard, entered Wake Forest College. I re- 
call that at that time no other Person County boy was at- 
tending college. He was very young, and for me, like other 
men who never were privileged to have a college education, 
it carried a sort of mystery with it. The college man seemed 
like one set apart. That my son had that chance caused 
me ereat satisfaction and I watched his course with deepest 

Page Nineteen 

interest. I felt repaid, for he studied, was respected by 
his teachers and gathered many honors from fellow stu- 
dents. My other sons also attended college but the first joy 
came in him and his success naturally affected me more 

In a life as long as mine there will be broken ties. In 
October, 1904, my wife, the companion of early years died ; 
in January, 1906, my youngest son, James, followed her. He 
was a bright and charming young fellow, jovial, generous 
and possessed of a humor that met and enveloped every cir- 
cumstance of life. He was a student of medicine and I 
believe destined for a useful life. In 1916 my oldest son, 
Howard, who had been such a pride to me, my first born, 
who had laid deep hold upon my heart, and whose career as 
lawyer and later as Superior Court Judge, had poured honor 
upon my white hair, passed to the grave. 

In 1906 I married Miss Alice Tucker, daughter of Cap- 
tain J. A. Tucker, veteran of the Civil War, who with his 
family had come many years before from Charlotte county 
in Virginia to North Carolina. The "Old Dominion," with 
its many good gifts to the political and social life of our 
country, has given none more splendid than her women, 
loyal to the traditions of Southland and family and devoted 
to all those traits of gentleness and of spirit that make up 
the charm of the Southern woman. If I may be permitted 
to say it, she who has been my companion and helpmeet 
these twelve years, and goes so softly and so loyally by my 
side in the evening days of my life, is typical of all that is 
best in Southern womanhood. 

My efforts have been almost entirely concerned with the 
pursuit of private business, but in my time I served in 
some public and semi-public relations. I have been treasurer 
and at another time a Commissioner of my County and again 
a Justice of the Peace and Trustee of the town School. In 
business I have been President and am now Vice-President 

Page Twenty 

of the Roxboro Cotton Mills, also vice-president of the 
Peoples Bank of which 1 am now President. For many 
years I had the honor to be trustee of Wake Forest College. 
A backward look upon my life tells me that God has 
blessed me, blessed me in the county of my birth, in the 
friends that I have had and the loved ones who have at 
all times of my life been gathered about my fireside. I 
have played my part, small part though it has been, upon 
the stage of life ; I have had joy, also sorrow ; and I can 
say with the mariner of old time 

"All times I have enjoyed greatly, have suffered greatly 
Both with those that loved me, and alone." 

But I can also say 

"I have lived, seen God's Hand through a life time and 
All was for the best." 

I have seen great changes and they seem to me to have 
tended to making the world a better dwelling place for 
mankind. I rejoice that each change has possessed for me 
an absorbing interest, and years have not blunted my vis- 
ion of events of this wonderful era. I have been happy in 
the success of my neighbors, in the development of the 
young men and women about me whose strength and wisdom 
are to bear the burdens of today and tomorrow. 

It may not be improper for me, an old man, to say that 
I have always exerted my effort to help the advance of 
things that were true, honest, just and of good report ; that 
made for the uplift of my time, as I have seen it; that I 
have desired the progress of education, morality and re- 
ligion and for myself have set the high standard, though 
doubtless I have so often fallen short, so short, of reaching 
it, the high standard of the Good Book : 

"To do justly, to love mercy and walk humbly before my God." 

Page Twenty-one 

My years are four score and one, the long day wanes, but 

"Old age hath yet his honor and his toil ;" 
and I shall hope to find that 

"The best is yet to be 
The last of life, for which the first was made: 

Our times are in His hand 

Who said 'A whole I planned. 
Youth shows but half; trust God; see all nor be afraid.'" 

A. R. F. 

RoxBORO, N. C. July, 1920. 

Page Twenty-two 



Mr. Editor : 

As I am one of the older citizens of Roxboro I have 
consented at the request of friends to write some remi- 
niscences of "Ye old time Roxboro and Person county for 
the Courier. I hope my readers will excuse all personal 
references, for I was a part of much that I shall write, and 
my story will necessarily revolve about my own life to a 
great extent. 1 first came to Roxboro to live in January, 
1853, then a youth of less than fourteen years and was 
employed as a general clerk in the store of G. D. Satter- 
field and J. A. Lunsford and remained in their employ 
about two and a half years, but later went back to my 
father's farm, and to school at the Academy at Leasburg in 
Caswell county for ten months in 1859. This school was 
taught by Henry A. Rogers, an excellent young man, a 
native of Person county and afterwards a Lieutenant Col- 
onel in the Confederate Army. After the close of the 
Civil War in the fall of 1865 I came back to Roxboro to 
live and have made it my home ever since. The firm of 
Satterfield & Lunsford, later Satterfield & (Haywood) Wil- 
liams, did the largest mercantile business in the village and 
county and indeed a large trade for that day. There were 
only three other general stores in the town, conducted by 
Dickens and Wright, Reade and Hamlet, and Barnett and 
Thaxton. There were two or three bar-rooms and one 
hotel, the latter being run by Colonel William R. Reade, who 
was also postmaster, and later mayor of the town. 

We had no bank, the nearest one being in Milton, twenty 
miles away, where our people did their banking; the near- 
est drug store was also in Milton. We had no hardware 

Page Twenty-three 

store, no furniture store, no barber shop. The boys had to 
shave themselves or go elsewhere to have their tonsorial 
work done. 

There was one tailor shop, conducted by Wiles and 
Denny. Occasionally a "journey man" or tramp tailor 
would come by and put in at the local tailor shop and get 
a "seat of work," as it was called. The usual happening 
was that he would work a few weeks, make considerable 
money, get on a spree, rid himself of his cash and strike 
out for the next town for another job These men were of 
a roving disposition. We also had two or three wagon and 
buggy repair shops, two or three blacksmith shops and a 
brick yard. 

This list includes about all the business of the town. 
The day of ready-made clothing had hardly come and very 
little of it was kept in the stores. The sewing machine had 
not come into use. I heard Mr. W. T. Noell, of Mt. Tirzah, 
in this county, say that he brought the first sewing machine 
into this section and, in fact, the first one to North Caro- 
llina. This, I think, was about 1854. He said people came 
from ten to twenty miles to see the "show." 

There was no cofifin shop ; wagon shops and carpenters 
over the county made common cofifins to order. When a 
fine cofifin was wanted one went to Tom Day's shop in 
Milton, waited to have it made to order, and brought it home 
on a wagon. No hearses were known in this section, 
nor had cases for coffins been introduced ; simply a vault 
was cut into the clay to fit the coffin. Tom Day was a high 
type of the "old issue" free negro. 

He accumulated a good estate by industry and fair deal- 
ing and stood well with the white people. He educated his 
children up North, as it was out of the question to find 
schools for them in the South. He had a large furniture fac- 
tory and made fine articles which found ready sale at good 

Page Twenty-four 

prices. His furniture can be found today in many homes in 
Caswell and Person counties. 

We had a flourishing Masonic Lodge in Roxboro, with 
Hon. E. G. Reade or Col. C. S. Winstead, Master, and S. 
L. Wiles, Tiler ; but there was no church building of any 
kind in town. The old Cool-Spring Methodist church, a 
mile north of town, had become so dilapidated that in time 
it was abandoned and the congregation moved to town and 
worshipped either in the Male Academy, or in the old court 
house. This continued for four or five years until a church 
house was built on the spot where the new brick Methodist 
church is now located. The Academy was afterwards 
changed to a residence and used by Rev. W. R. Webb until 
his death. 

At the time the writer came to town to live, the popula- 
tion of the town was 225 or 250, but only two people are 
here now that I remember being here then, these are W. E. 
Webb, our present Register of Deeds, and Mrs. S. B. Win- 
stead (nee Ida Satterfield), both then small children. The 
heads of families were as follows : G. D. Satterfield, mer- 
chant, farmer and tobacco manufacturer; Stephens M. 
Dickens, merchant and farmer; E. G. Reade, merchant, 
lawyer and farmer ; Col. William R. Reade, hotel proprietor 
and postmaster ; John M. Winstead, sheriff ; William O. 
Bowler, harness and saddle maker ; John H. Jones, farm- 
er; Thomas Sizemore, blackmith ; James M. Barnett, mer- 
chant and farmer ; B. A. Thaxton, merchant ; James Whitt, 
shoemaker ; Richard Springfield, shoemaker ; C. H. Brad- 
sher, physician ; W. R. Webb, local preacher and clerk of 
Superior Court; Ira T. Wyche, circuit rider of the Meth- 
odist church; S. L. Wiles, tailor; Nat H. Baird, farmer; 
Charles Mason, clerk of County Court ; George B. Cham- 
bers, jailor; John C. Wiley, stage driver; Alexander Hop- 
kins, trader; Joseph W. Nance, tobacco manufacturer; 
Kemp Sanders, wood workman ; Horace Mason, Alonzc 

Page Twenty-five 

Bowler, Cad Hopkins, Iverson Cothran and perhaps there 
were a few others. All of them have passed away and live 
in the memory of few. 

The old bachelors and young men whom I recall were : T. Satterfield, teacher; C. S. Winstead, lawyer; 
E. C. Jordan, lawyer ; James Wright, merchant ; Chesley 
Hamlen, merchant; Alex O'Briant, clerk; Henry Satter- 
field, deputy sheriff ; H. S. Thaxton, clerk ; James H. 
Woody, teacher; John G. Dillehay, tobacco manufacturer; 
W. M. Denny, tailor ; Kemp Sanders, wheelwright ; W. B. 
Austin, shoemaker; Cad Hopkins, Thomas A. Wiles, Louis 
Hopkins, John A. Baird, Alonzo Bowler, Horace Mason, 
Tip Hopkins, E. F. Satterfield, John G. Dickens and Henry 
T. Jordan. 

Of young ladies there were: Misses Sue and Jennie 
Satterfield, Lou Dickens, Sallie Mason, Cerilda Bowler, 
Emily Chambers, Sallie Gallagher, Jennie and Mag Palmer 
and Emma Reade. Miss Mag Palmer alone survives; she 
lives in Durham and still maintains the charm and grace 
of '53. 

This was the era of light-wood knots and tallow dip 
candles for light, of cotton cards, flax and cotton spinning 
wheels, hand looms, clock reels, home-spun, hand-made 
clothes. The sewing machine and cook stove had not been 
introduced. Cooking was done in ovens, skillets, frying 
pans and pots, over the fireplace, as in Colonial days. This 
was also the day of the old stage coach for the public 
conveyance of passengers and Uncle Sam's mail. A stage 
line then ran from Danville, Virginia, via Yanceyville, 
Milton, Leasburg, Roxboro, Oxford, to Henderson on 
the old Raleigh and Gaston railroad, now the Seaboard 
Air Line. I think the stage line was continued west 
from Danville to the B. & O. Railroad in West Vir- 
ginia, the nearest railroad west of us. Danville then 
had no railroad as the Richmond and Danville and the 

Page Twenty-six 

old North Carolina railroad had not been built. Hen- 
derson was our shipping point. Freighting was done 
largely by wagons from Petersburg, Richmond and Lynch- 
burg, in Virginia. Tobacco was hauled in hogsheads to 
these markets and the wagons brought back loads of mer- 
chandise for the merchants. It required quite a time to 
make the round trip. I remember being told that wagons 
had been run from here even to Baltimore to haul goods. 

The arrival of the stage coach in town was quite an 
event. People flocked to the hotel and postoffice to see the 
passengers, to get their mail and to hear the news. When the 
stage got in hearing of town, the driver would blow his bugle 
to announce its coming; he would then blow again giving 
the signal as to how many passengers on board wanted a 
meal at the hotel, so the hotel man could set about pre- 
paring it. The driver would change horses on arrival here 
and, after giving the passengers just time for eating, start 
right out for the next town. 

As I now remember, the stage passed through town 
only about four or five times a week. They usually drove 
two or four horses, perhaps sometimes six, and carried from 
two to eight passengers and their baggage. No Saratoga 
trunks were allowed, only light weight baggage. It was 
very expensive traveling, costing about fifteen or twenty 
cents per mile. We had no kerosene oil, electric lights or 
telephones. Flint and steel guns were used mostly, but 
gun caps were coming into use. Schools were not neglected, 
as there were two flourishing schools here; one for boys, 
conducted by James H. Woody, and one for girls and young 
ladies, conducted by Mrs. William O. Bowler. Both were 
well patronized by the town and country people and from 
a distance. Good schools were kept up until the Civil War. 

People in those days produced their supplies at home, 
lived at home and "boarded at the same place." Nearly 
everybody raised a flock of sheep. The wives and daughters 

Page Twenty-seven 

spun and wove the wool into jeans for men and boys, also 
flannels, blankets, stockings and socks. In fact, almost 
every thing worn and used was raised and made on the 
farm. Even cotton and linen goods were produced at 
home and materials also for dyeing the goods were found 
on the farm except a few cents worth of copperas to "set 
the colors." Then nearly every man who claimed to be a 
farmer had meat, wheat, corn and other products for sale. 

At that time we had only two Superior Courts and four 
County Courts a year, the latter called Courts of Pleas and 
Quarter sessions. These County Courts were presided over 
by three justices of the peace, one of which was chairman. 
Charles Mason was the Court clerk, an office which he 
served for about thirty years, and C. S. Winstead was 
County Attorney. Ordinary cases were tried in this court, 
but capital cases and all cases of much importance were 
carried to the Superior Court. The county court clerk is- 
sued marriage licenses as a part of his duties, but kept no 
record of them as now. This court transacted much of the 
business now done by the County Commissioners. G. D. 
Satterfield was Register of Deeds. The Superior Court 
attracted large crowds ; it seemed as if everybody tried to 
come on Tuesday of November Court which was the biggest 
day of the year. It was also market day for home-made 
chairs, flax and spinning wheels, slays for the loom, clock 
reels, wool hats, shoes, leather, all home production. It 
was also a great time for the sale of ginger cakes and locust 
and persimmon cider. 

These last articles, cakes and cider, were made and sold 
chiefly by the old free colored people. Old man Jordan 
Martin and Nelson Cousins, whom many of our older peo- 
ple remember, were prominent in this line of trade. On 
one occasion during Court week, a tramp struck the town 
for the first time about ten o'clock in the forenoon during 
court hours, and saw a chance to steal a little bag of money 

Page Twenty-eight 

from old man Cousins' cake stand while he was making 
change for a customer. Some one nearby seeing it, called 
the old man's attention to it. Whereupon the fellow was 
arrested, tried, convicted and whipped at the whipping post 
all in a few hours. When he was discharged and was de- 
parting in a hurry, he remarked that Roxboro was the most 
business-like town he had found in all his travels. 

In those days if a man was convicted of murder he had 
to "pull hemp." It was very difficult to dodge the gallows, 
as we then had no penitentiary in the State — had to hang 
him to solve the problem of what to do with him. For 
manslaughter one cheek was branded with the letter M with 
a hot iron ; for bigamy the letter B was used. These letters 
could not be eflfaced and the culprit had to wear the evi- 
dence of his disgrace the remainder of his life. 

Among visiting tradesmen at our Courts I remember 
that Gunn and Bo we, of Yancey ville, who had a large tan 
yard and shoe shop, attended our Courts and sold their make 
of shoes in large quantities. They were known to make and 
sell honest goods. When a boy, I remember my father bought 
a pair from them on the Court House ground for me. 

Among the visiting lawyers at our Courts were Gov. W. 
A. Graham, of Hillsboro, Col. L. E. Edwards, of Oxford, 
Hon. John Kerr and Samuel P. Hill, of Yanceyville. On 
one occasion, I remember seeing the future General M. 
W. Ransom at Court here to defend one Joseph P. 
Williams — a case moved here from Caswell county — 
charged with the murder of his father. General Ransom 
lost his case and Williams was hanged. This was in 1855 
or '56. Ransom was then a young attorney, very handsome 
and straight as an arrow, a fine specmien of young man- 

In speaking of our courts, I recall hearing of a suit 
tried here between old General Chambers, a prominent cit- 
izen of the county, and some other man about a stack of 

Page Twenty-nine 

oats. The case was carried through the courts until the 
costs and fees amounted to about a thousand dollars. I 
recall also a case where a man owed another $350.00. The 
holder of the note refused to accept anything but coin. The 
debtor became angry, went all the way to Raleigh on horse 
back and, to spite the holder of the note, bought copper cents 
to the amount of the whole debt, quite a load of money, 
and offered it for his note. But the note holder, know- 
ing the law, refused the copper coin, except one dollar 
of it, as he had a right to do, leaving the debtor in a worse 
fix than before. The debtor had a time of it exchanging 
his copper for silver and gold, which were the only legal 
tender, illustrating an old saying "the biter got bit." 

At this time Rev. W. R. Webb was clerk of the Superior 
Court and John Bradsher was Clerk and Master. I don't 
know what his duties were, but I remember that the Judge, 
holding Court on one occasion, asked Mr. Bradsher where 
his office was and he replied that it was in his saddle bags, 
which he had on his arm. This caused much amusement in 
the Court room. 

John Y. Parker, a rich old bachelor, whom a few of the 
oldest men of the county remember, was a prominent figure 
of the town for many years, just prior to the time the 
writer came to town to live. He was a great turkey hunter 
and when hunting he wore a garb to make him look as much 
like a turkey as possible. While he was out in the woods 
one day in the thick brush calling up turkeys another hunter 
passing near by, mistook him for a turkey and shot and 
killed him. This occurred in October, 1852. No blame 
was charged against the slayer by the Coroner's Jury, who 
felt that any hunter would have made the same mistake 
under similar circumstances. Parker, it is said, remarked 

that morning that he "expected some d n fool would 

shoot him for a turkey." 

Page Thirty 

His estate proved to be about $85,000.00 in cash, a big 
estate in those days. He started out a poor boy, ploughed 
or did anything he could find to do, at twenty-five cents a 
day. He was a hard worker, sharp trader and note shaver. 
He saved the pennies and dimes as well as the dollars and 
grew rich. He left his money to his kinspeople. He was 
buried at old Cool-Spring church, and his grave is marked 
by a white marble slab, as may be seen at this day. 

To illustrate his shrewdness, or rather his daring, I 
heard Rev. W. R. Webb say that he once bought a tract of 
land at a public sale for 50 cents per acre. Parker found 
it out, and without saying anything to Mr. Webb, sold it 
for one dollar per acre for cash and made the purchaser a 
deed to it. A day or two afterward he saw Mr. Webb and 
bought it for 75 cents per acre. As Parker paid him ,ind 
took the deed he said : "Webb, I have already sold it for 
a dollar per acre, made the buyer a deed to it and got the 
money." Mr. Webb said to him, "You rascal, if I had 
known it I would have had you put in jail." They both 
made money by the transaction, and Parker thought it a 
good joke. 

It was customary then for candidates seeking office to 
"treat" to whiskey and brandy, or "spirits," as it was called 
then. An office seeker who failed to do this, was considered 
stingy and illiberal and, as a rule, not apt to be elected. I 
heard of one candidate for the Legislature, who "treated" 
to a whole barrel of whiskey at one precinct ; of course, he 
was elected. "Up country" corn whiskey sold cheap, 25 
cents per gallon delivered by the barrel. It retailed at 30 
to 35 cents a gallon, 10 cents per quart, 5 cents per drink 
or three for 10 cents and was sold for 221/2 to 25 cents 
a gallon wholesale. Anybody could make and sell it without 
license, as I remember, unless they sold less than a quart. 
This was a time of "free trade and sailors' rights." Mer- 
chants over the country usually kept it in stock and sold 

Page Thirty-one 

it as they did any other goods, considering this a respectable 
business. Much of the whiskey was hauled here from 
Alamance, Guilford and other counties on wagons and 
peddled over the country, being sold by the quart and gallon. 
Both whiskey and brandy were plentiful, made on every 
spring branch, so to speak, by anybody who cared to do 
so. Yet there was less drunkenness then than at a later 
period under the Revenue laws. Every household kept 
some "spirits," to set out to visitors. Many of the ladies 
even would take a cup of coffee at the table "laced with 
the ardent" and no harm was thought of it. 
September, 1914. 


Editor Courier: 

In my former letter, I failed to tell about the Cotton 
Gin used by our forefathers of two or three generations 
ago. It was a combination Cotton Gin, Corn Mill and 
Wheat Threshing Machine, propelled by horsepower, and 
built in a large barn with sheds to protect the machines, 
which were largely of wood, from the weather. This ;na- 
chine was made at home, but of course required good 
machinists to make and erect it. It was a rather crude and 
clumsy affair, it is true, but served a valuable purpose in its 

It could not be moved from farm to farm like the thresh- 
ing machines of the present time as it was made to fit the 
barn. But there were many of them in the county. Many 
of our older men and some of the younger ones still re- 
member these old machines with large wooden cog wheels 
and machinery. 

Wheat crops were small and wheat was mostly threshed 
out with hand flails, or trampled out by horses on the barn 

Page Thirty-two 

floor. After this came the horsepower threshing machine 
hauled from farm to farm. It was called the (Iround 
Hog. This did not clean the wheat, hut left it in chaff 
for the fan mill to finish up hy hand. Now we have the 
steam-propelled thresher and cleaner, which prepares the 
wheat for the flour mill. As for cotton seed, it was used 
to stop gullies, deemed of no value at all. 

The custom was to cut and clear all the land possible, 
to Innn the timber, to gcd rid of it. leaving enough for 
rails for fencing and for fire wood. As fast as the land 
was worn out, it was turned out to wash away in gullies 
and waste land for succeeding generations to bring up again 
to a state of cultivation. They had not learned the art 
of improving the land while making a crop on it. From 
two to five barrels of corn was a fair crop to the acre. 
Now by improved methods we produce from ten to forty- 
five barrels to the acre, and use no more hand labor than 
was used then ; and at the same time we improve the land 
while making these crops. Commercial fertilizer had not 
come into use, nor seeding clover nor legumes for improving 
the soil. 


March, 31, 1915. 


Editor Courier: 

Person county was cut oflF from Caswell, which was 
originally a part of Orange county (the mother of coun- 
ties) about the year 1790, and named for General Person, 
of Granville county, of Revolutionary fame. The Court 
House for Caswell county after Person was cut off was 
for a while in Leasburg, on the lot afterwards owned by 
the late Hon. George N. Thompson. The Court House 

Page Thirty-three 

for Person was for a year or two at Paines Tavern, four 
miles south of Roxboro. During this time a committee 
was appointed by the Court, or Board of Magistrates, to 
select a more central point for the permanent location of 
the Court House, and the committee decided upon the pres- 
ent location as being very near the center of the county ; 
besides, they found a good spring of water near by, known 
ever since as the "Public Spring;" this spring, which is 
near the rear of the Primitive Baptist church, had much 
to do with the choice of location of the county seat ; this is 
a rocky section and wells of water were difficult to dig and 
not much in use. 

The land for the Court House Square was given to the 
county by Dempsey Moore in 1792. The deed for the 
same can be seen by reference to Book A, in the Person 
County Register of Deeds office. 

Roxboro was named, so I have often heard, by James 
Williamson, a native of Scotland of Angus county, who 
then lived two miles south of Roxboro on a farm, known 
a long while as the "Williamson Place," but now as the 
"Murdock Place" and belonging to the writer. It had one 
of the finest homes in the county. Mr. Williamson was a 
prominent citizen. He had the Scotch gift for accumulation 
and consequently owned many large tracts of land and many 
negroes. He was a large farmer and merchant, having a 
store in Roxboro and one at his home. He was married 
twice and reared a large family. He educated his children 
in the best schools and colleges in the country, thus fitting 
them for places of honor and trust. One of his sons, John 
Gustavus Adolphus Williamson, was many times elected to 
the Legislature from the county, and to other honorable 
places. He was also appointed by the President of the 
United States to a diplomatic post in Venezuela, South 
America. He married in Philadelphia, died and was buried 
there. Another son was Dr. James M. Williamson, who 

Page Thirty-four 

lived in Mempliis; anotlicr a lawyer in Alamance coun'.y; 
one daughter married Judije Dick of Greensboro; one mar- 
ried a Mr. Donahoe, of Milton, N. C. ; another married 
James Ruffin, of Hillsboro, and the others married promi- 
nent men. Mr. Williamson died about the year 1832 and 
was buried, himself, both wives and daughter, Mrs. Ruffm, 
at the old home place near Roxboro, as their tomb stones 
there indicate to this day. 

After the death of Mr. Williamson, this home was 
bought by Elder Stephen Pleasant, a prominent Baptist 
minister who lived there many years and raised a large 
family of children, many of whom were prominent in the 
business and social life of the county. 

Roxboro was named for "Roxborough," a shire of Scot- 
land on the English border and not on account of the rocky 
section in which it is located. The name has been variously 
spelled in my own time on maps and postoffice books "Rox- 
borough," as well as "Roxboro." 

Our county has always been, until late years, a very 
conservative county, rather slow in voting money for im- 
provements, or for men to office who favored taxation for 
internal improvements. Several routes for railroads were 
surveyed through the county long years ago, one as far 
back as 1852, but none availed until years later. 

Roxboro, N. C. 
October 6, 1915. 


Mr. Editor: 

In my first letter, which gave a description of Roxboro 
from 1853 to 1861, I left out some things of interest which 
I might have noted. 

Page Thirty-five 

At this time there was quite a number of tobacco fac- 
tories in the county; and, in fact, over all this tobacco belt, 
they were almost as numerous as cross-road stores, and it 
seems they made money. No stamp tax nor license to man- 
ufacture it was required. A revenue officer had not been 
heard of in this part of the world, nor was any needed, as 
State and county taxes were all the revenue reqviired in 
those days and they were collected by the sheriff. 

Our tobacco manufacturers sold much of their tobacco 
"Down the Country" as they called the eastern part of 
North Carolina and Virginia. They ran wagons and "ped- 
dled" it out along the roads to farm houses and stores, often 
selling a whole load of ten to twenty boxes to one store. 
Many people made it their business to trade in plug tobacco 
the year round, and prospered at it. These peddlers usually 
camped by their wagons at night in town or village, often 
on the road side, and dealt out their tobacco by the plug or 
in "chunks" and found ready sale for it at big profit. As 
railroads were few and literally "far between" they had 
to return a long distance to load up their wagons for the 
next trip. At this time very little tobacco was grown east 
of Granville and Warren counties; thus the large scope 
of the country, even to the sea coast, offered a splendid 
market for this tobacco wagon trade. Good traders often 
loaded up for the return trip with salt fish — shad, herring, 
and rockfish — which found ready sale all the way back 
home. They thus made money both going and coming. 

But the advent of the railroad and Federal revenue 
laws following the Civil War put an end to the wagon trade, 
and peddling of tobacco. Revenue laws forbade the re- 
tailing of tobacco except by local dealers who had govern- 
ment licenses. The sale of leaf tobacco was also for- 
bidden to any one except dealers and manufacturers ; this 
law is still in effect. The U. S. Government needed money 
with which to pay the war debt and levied a heavy tax of 

Page Thirty-six 

40 cents a pound on all manufactured tobacco and snufF, and 
a tax of $1.10 a gallon on liquors. Many a poor fellow 
got into trouble trying to evade the tax; for the government 
generally got the best of it in the courts. 

Up to 1854 Roxboro town had not been incorporated, 
and a move was made about this time to have it done. 
Chesley Hamlen, a merchant of the town, took the lead in 
the matter; a petition was got up, signed by many citi- 
zens of the village and sent up to the State Legislature then 
in session. A charter was granted incorporating "the town 
of Roxboro." There was much sport made over it by many 
people in and out of town; they called it "The City," and 
the mayor, "The Lord Mair." A mayor, alderman and 
town constable were elected and sworn in. Col. Wm. R. 
Reade was the first mayor and made a very acceptable 
officer. I don't remember who the other officers were. The 
town laws were strictly enforced for a while, which created 
much prejudice against the town, and no doubt injured its 
business to some extent. 

Up to this time we had practically no sidewalks, and the 
streets, or roads, through the town were very narrow, only 
about 16 feet wide. They were worked by the county road 
hands and overseers just like the other county roads. Mud 
holes were stopped up with pine brush and poles with a 
little dirt thrown over them. Town lots were enclosed with 
rail fences except that some of them had a plank fence or 
paling to the front yards. Very few of the houses had 
ever been painted and there was only one brick house in 
town. This was a small house on the corner of the now 
Jones Hotel lot, used by Reade and Hamlen as a general 

The new corporation by-laws forbade the sale of liquors 
on Main Street. Moses Chambers, however, operated 
a bar and sold liquor on this street in defiance of this 
ruling of the town Aldermen and was indicted. At the trial, 

Page Thirty-seven 

Chambers introduced a witness, an old resident, who was 
asked by Josiah Turner, council for Chambers, to locate 
Main Street. This witness said that Main Street ran 
through Roxboro from South Boston to Hillsboro, which 
caused quite a laugh in the court house at the expense of 
the town authorities who were prosecuting the suit. The 
aldermen lost the suit. This witness, by the way, was a 
good customer of Chamber's bar room. 

In these "good old times" nearly a'l goods were sold on 
time, and as a rule, accounts were paid only once a year. 
Nearly everyone was good for his debts as there was no 
homestead exemption and all the property a man had could 
be sold for his debts except the family clothing and a few 
other articles ; the chattel mortgages and crop lien system 
were not known, nor was a land mortgage often given ; the 
people lived "the simple life" and a little money went a 
long way. 

Roxboro, N. C. 
January 13, 1915. 


Editor Courier: 

I have concluded to change my program for this letter 
by giving names as far as I can recall them of the heads of 
families and some old bachelors too who lived in the county 
during the period of my early years in Roxboro. I make 
the list entirely from memory; I have not consulted any rec- 
ord nor asked, any one for information on the subject. 
These names are given by townships. The location of the 
individuals in townships may not in every instance be ex- 
actly correct, as the county was then laid off in districts, 
not in townships as now. But the names given are correct, 
as I was personally acquainted with nearly all of them and 

Page Thirty-eight 

knew of the others. Most of these men served with valor 
in the Confederate Armies and were splendid citizens of 
whom any county might he proud and posterity hold in 
grateful remembrance. I do not include the names of any 
persons who lived in Roxboro who were listed in a former 
letter. I feel sure that the list of names given has real 
historic interest, greater perhaps than anything else I might 
write, as it portrays at a glance a picture gallery of the 
entire citizenship of the county where some can see the 
name of ancestor or forefather and all will find the fore- 
fathers who built a civilization and now sleep in the soil of 
the county. 

The most of these men were farmers and constituted 
the bone and sinew of the county. 

Roxboro Township 

Josephus Younger, Tinsley Brooks, Captain John Bu- 
chanan, James Buchanan, Tinsley Buchanan, Solomon 
Walker, John Stansfieid. David W. Brooks, Thomas H. 
Brooks, John Lewis Brooks, Alex O'Briant, Ransom O'Bri- 
ant, Albert O'Briant, Thomas Westbrooks, James Jackson, 
Ben Hix, John J. Ellison, Elder Stephen Pleasant, Wil- 
liam R. Pleasant, Brown Pleasant, Reuben Long, Sr., 
RatlifT Long. G. C. Pucci, James Hamlen, William M. 
Brooks, Matthew Daniel, William W. Wrenn, Jerry 
Satterfield, Joseph Wrenn, Mac Humphries, Simon Gentry, 
Abner Williams, John D. Carver, Jackson Winstead, 
Jesse C. Clayton, Thomas Clayton, Jr., Hardy Clay- 
ton, Calvin Daniel, John C. Clayton, Thomas K. Glenn, 
Thomas Horton, Thomas Byas, Micajor G. Thomas, 
James L. Wagoner, John D. Clayton, Sr., Major Davis, 
Sam Wright, William Mann, Martin Gravitt, George 
Satterfield, Sr., J. P. Traynham, Jesse Monday, Bob 
Westbrooks, Solomon Painter, William Slayton, Draper 
Carver, Calvin C. Clayton, George Daniel, James Cow- 
Page Thirty -nine 

horn, Sam Draper, Henry True, James A. Westbrooks, 
John B. Stanfield, Martin Clayton, Talton Bowles, Benja- 
min Hicks, John Long, Sr., Jack Wilson, Robert Whitt, 
Drewey Gravitt, Madison Bowden, Allen Hicks, Benjamin 
Wheeler, Thomas Humphries, Richard Bowen, William A. 
Ellison, Garrett Brooks, Jacob G. Slaughter, John Dunn, 
John Wrenn, Sr., Phil Dunn, Jackson Dunn, John Bum- 
pass, Sr., George W. Burch, Edward Forlines, William D. 
Satterfield, John O'Briant, Ben. Wheeler, Elijah O'Briant, 
Matt Nelson, Robert Daniel, Romulus Daniel, Green Dan- 
iel, John Wrenn, Sr., Grandison Wrenn, George Capril, 
Garrett Brooks, George R. Satterfield, Gabe Bumpass. 


William W. Humphreys, Major T. A. Yancey, Dr. 
James L. Sanford, William Gillis, Sr., John Neal, James 
W. Beavers, William W. Ramsey, Major James Street, Ga- 
briel Bailey, Sr., Gabriel Bailey, Jr., William Pool, Elder 
John E. Montague, Madison Walker, Robert D. Bumpass, 
Sanders Day, Jas. W. Blackwell, James Walker, Dr. 
William Merritt, Jesse D. Walker, Baldy Ramsey, Billy 
Holloway, David Holloway, Robert Jones, Sr., Jack Hum- 
phries, Jones Drumright, John Baird, Sr., Dr. William 
Baird, Thomas A. Baird, Erasmus Wilkerson, Peyton 
West, Dr. Ben Wilkerson, Larkin Brooks, Sr., William 
T. Woody, Robbin Brooks, Thomas Woody, Solomon 
Walker, Wm. Link, Matt Nelson, Haywood Nelson, Moses 
A. Woody, Rufiin Woody, J. D. Wilkerson. 

WooDSDALE Township 

John Rogers, John Barnett, Sr., John A. Barnett, John 
Barnett (long Jack), Cam Barnett, Sam A. Barnett, Ab 
Barnett, John H. Clay, Hugh Woods, Sr., Hugh Woods, 
Thos. Woods, Jr., William Baird, Sr., Charles G. Mitchell, 

Page Forty 

Sr., Elder A. N. Hall, Elder Durluim Hall, David 
Brooks, Sr., John Brooks, Esq., Asa Brooks, Sr., 
Reuben Brooks, Moses Walker, Solomon Walker, Reu- 
ben Long, Stanford Long, Dempsey Brooks, Major 
Green, Alex Walker, John Bailey, Jesse Chambers, 
Martin Chambers, Josiah Carver, Col. Henry Carver, 
William Jones, John IL Monday, William H. Bailey, 
Matt Long, Richard Long, Jake Long, Dr. C. H. Jordan, 
Ben Chambers, Sam Jones, George Duncan, Burl H. 
Dillehay, Arthur Dillehay, Reuben Carver, Elder Erank 
L. Oakley, Moses L. Oakley, James Barnett, Sr., Robert 
Palmer, Major S. C. Barnett, James M. Barnett. 

Mt. Tirzaii Township 

G. G. Moore, Dr. E. A. Speed, Julius Burton, Alex 
Gray, Benjamin R. Moore, William T. Noell, Alonzo R. 
Moore, Rev. Junius P. Moore, Rev. T. W. Moore, Alford 
Moore, Henry J. Montgomery, Squire Meadows, Noah H. 
Meadows, Granville Andrews, Thomas D. Clayton, Monroe 
Cash, Charles Holeman, Sr., James Holeman, Sr., Andrew 
Gray, David Rountree, Richard Holeman, Sr., James 
Webb, Moses Chambers, Sr., Griffin Jones, Elder Jesse 
Mooney, Isaiah Bumpass, M D. C. Bumpass, Dr J. W. 
Hamlett, W. F. Reade, William Gray, Hiram Satterfield, 
Buck Blalock, Elder A. Blalock, Henry C Sweeny, Samuel 
Clements, Thomas Sneed, Stephen Sneed, Alex Jones. 

Allensville Township 

Thomas T. Allen, Drewey Allen, James Bullock, James 
Snipes, John Lunsford, Robert O. Burch, John Yarbro, 
James W. Townsend, Frank Townsend, Madison Yar- 
bro, Henderson Yarbro, Frank Day, Sr., John Day, Sr., 
Moses Hicks, James H. Chandler, Henderson Chandler, 
David Yarbro, Robert Beasley, Spotts B. Royster, William 
B. Greenwood, Woodson Lyon, William H. Thomas, James 

Page Forty-one 

H. Harris, Elder E. J. Montague, Henry H. Duncan, Wil- 
liam Clayton, Jesse B. Clayton, John G. Dixon, Green 
W. Denny, William H. Royster, Robert Royster, Lem. G. 
Clayton, Solomon O'Briant, Dr. William E. Oakley, James 
G. Burch, W. H. Lawson, Governor Slaughter, Simon Gen- 
try, Jacob G. Slaughter, Solomon Slaughter, James Bullock. 

Bushy Fork Township 

William Arch Bradsher, Nathaniel Torian, William 
Whitfield, A. C. Foushee, Burnel Russell, James Bradsher, 
John Bradsher, Sr., James O. Bradsher, Armistead Henry, 
John H. Henry, Robert D. Henry, Alex Gordon, Richard 
Gordon, William Marshall, Sidney Marshall, Ben Davis, 
Richard Hargis, Sr., Orval V. Hargis, William H. Long, 
Sr., William H. Long, Jr., George Briggs, Sr., Samuel H. 
Briggs, Sidney O'Briant, Elder Ingram Chandler, Elder 
Wells, Elder William Burns, Hasten Blalock, Hasten Rim- 
mer, Wilson McCullock, Calvin Hawkins, Dolphin Villines, 
Silas Moore, Willis Villines, Thomas Villines, Nat Villines, 
Robert Malone, Washington Malone, John Whitfield, John 
Moore, Sr., B. D. Harris, John Blackwell, Dr. R. S. Baynes, 
Dr. James McMullen, John Mansfield, John Smith, Sr., 
Calvin Brown, Rev. S. Young Brown, Ransom O'Briant, 
George Broach, Asa Fuller, Stephen Monday, Thomas 
Whitfield, Sr., Thomas Phelps, Alex O'Briant, Richard 
Lee, James Allen, Sr., Reuben Allen, Richard Broach, John 
Newton, Lewis G. Stanfield, Nat Broach, Nathan Oakley, 
Thomas L. Whitfield, Alex Whitfield, Green W. Brown, 
Richard Phelps, Bently McKee, Mincey Whitfield, Edwin 
Whitfield, Samuel Horton, William Cooper, Daniel W. 
K. Richmond, William B. McCullock, William Chatham, 
John E. Harris, James Whitfield, Sr., Silas Moore, William 
Daniel, Hardy Hurdle, Bedford Hurdle, Alex M. Long, 
Richard Broach, Walker Davis, Sanders Johnson, W. H. 
Smith, James Smith, Thomas Whitfield, Jr., William 

Page Forty-two 

A. Lee, William Gregory. Jackson Jones, Wm. Hamlen, Geo 
L. Torian, Andrew Torian, Ben Javis. 

CuNiNGHAM Township 

Jeff Franklin. Jarrell Powell. John W. Cunningham. 
Thomas McGehee. Haywood Williams, Sandy Williams, 
Green Williams, William Williams, Joseph Pointer, Jeffer- 
son Jones, Dr. Jack Jones, Barksdale Jones, Dr. John C. 
Terrell, Joseph Barker, Rev. Addison Stanfield, Obadiah 
Faulkner, Montford Faulkner, Thomas Faulkner, John 
Faulkner, Kinchen Newman, James Shanks, Abner Dixon, 
Sam Dixon, Gary Williams, Sam Pointer, Banks Newman. 

Olive Hill Township 

George C. Rogers, George A. Rogers, Henry A. Rogers, 
Stephen Wilkerson, Obadiah Pearce, Sr., William Pearce, 
Carter Woods, George Tapp, Samuel Johnson, Sr.. John 
Bradsher. Sr.. William Paylor, John Paylor, Bird Paylor, 
Robert H. Hester, A. J. Hester, Nicholas Hester, Sr., 
John Bradsher, Jr., Kindle VanHook, Solomon VanHook, 
David VanHook, Daniel Sergeant, James T. Sergeant, Wil- 
liam G. Winstead, Wilson Yeallock. Franklin Yeallock, 
Joseph Sallie, Abner Bradsher, Olive Bradsher, Jesse Brad- 
sher, Stephen Garrett, James Grubbs, Elijah Snipes, Jerry 
Brooks, James J. Scoggin, Barton Woods, Joseph Coleman, 
Sr., Joseph Coleman, Jr., Robert Coleman, John Monday, 
Thomas Davenport, Lewis S. Morton, Reuben Walton, 
Ransom Frederick, Ben Jacobs, John Tally, Stephen Win- 
stead, Britton Wagstaff, John Wagstaff, James B. Wag- 
staff, John M. Morton, Monroe Yarbro, Albert Yarbro, 
Rev. B. W. Williams, Camel VanHook, Col. John C. Van 
Hook, Charles Mitchell. Brown Pleasant, William B. Pleas- 
ant, Joseph W. Neal. Nathan Fox, Carter Lee, Billy Brad- 
sher, Sr., Richard Bradsher, Sr., William W. Royster, 
John G Lee, Ambrose Loftis, Issac Satterfield, Sr., Au- 

Pagc Forty- three 

gustine VanHook, Monroe Bradsher, Andrew Jackson, Sr., 
Andrew Jackson, Jr., Nathan Oakley, Ab Bradsher, James 
Nelson, Anderson Harris, Ezekiel Woods, Dr. J. J. Thax- 
ton, George W. Trotter, Richard Lee, John Scoggins, James 
M. Snipes, John C. Wilkerson, Obadiah Pearce, Jr., James 
T. Sergeant, Thomas Lawson, Charles Bolton, Dixon Bol- 
ton, Henderson Bolton, William Bolton, James Scott, James 
W. Featherstone, George W. Whitfield, John T. Nelson, J. 
P. Harris, Geo. E. Harris. 

Flat River Township 

Joseph Lunsford, Nicholas W. Allen, Allen H. Luns- 
ford, George H. Daniel, Captain Jacob A. Loy, James H. 
Gates, James T. Gates, John M. Gates, John Hamlen, Sr., 
Isaiah Gates, Richard H. Gates, Robert Trimm, Jacob 
Hormer, Samuel H. Glements, Jesse A. Lunsford, Henry 
Tapp, James Tapp, John Trimm, James Satterfield, Sr., 
George Gray, Sr., George T. Gray, Alford Gray, William 
Daniel, John J. Rogers, Elmore Gates, Gilbert Moore, Wil- 
liam Timberlake, Thomas G. Green, John W. Pearce, Wil- 
liam P. Satterfield, William A. Barton, Terrell Moore, 
Ruffin Rhew, H. H. Garrett, John Burton, Sr., Green W. 
Blalock, Dudley Burton, Thomas Barton, Larry H. Moore, 
Isaac Satterfield, Jr., David Evans, William H. Harris, 
Thomas Trimm, Rev. John H. Loy, Robert R. Moore, 
John Jones, Stephen Phillips, Henry Burton, Larry Welch, 
William B. Mann, Larry Blackard, Lewis Frederick, Jesse 
Walker, Sr., Thos. C. Green and Dr. W. M. Terrell. 


Nov. 10, 1914. 

Page Forty-four 


Editor Courier : 

When I was a boy many interesting stories were told 
of the time when the British Army marched through our 
county during the Rcvohitionary War, under the command 
of Lord Cornwalhs. 

One of them is to the effect that, in 1781, when he 
was moving east from Caswell or Alamance county through 
Person county on the way to Yorktown he passed what 
is now known as Roseville, four miles southwest of Rox- 
boro. A man living there by the name of Rose, whose smoke 
house was near the road side, had a large lot of provisions 
cooked up and put under lock and key. When the army 
arrived he handed General Cornwallis the key, saying as 
he pointed to it : "Here, my Lord, is the key to the smoke 
house. It is full of provisions, open it and help your- 
selves." This man Rose was what was called a Tory, a 
member of a political party that was opposed to the war, 
and was in sympathy with the British. 

The soldiers took the provisions and went on to old 
Paines Tavern, two or three miles, and stacked their guns, 
"Flint and Steel" muskets, and spent the night in camp. A 
big white oak there was ever afterward known and pointed 
out as the "Cornwallis" tree. The writer has often seen 
this splendid old tree and it has not been so long since 
it died and was cut down. "Paines Tavern" was then a 
place of note, a popular camping ground for emigrants 
from a large section of the country, moving to the West 
to seek new homes. Paines. a man of some wealth, owned 
the place and kept a house of entertainment for the public 
called a "Tavern," a name perpetuated even today 

This writer remembers, when a boy, seeing a few of 
the old Revolutionary soldiers of Person county, who had 
land warrants as an extra bounty given for service in help- 

Page Forty-five 

ing to free our country from the British yoke. These land 
warrants conveyed to each of them 160 acres of Western 
land, a quarter section. Very few of them ever went out 
to occupy their land, but sold their claims to land speculators. 

October 30, 1915. 


Mr. Editor : 

I have decided to write another short letter covering the 
period from 1853 to 1860, thus "threshing the straw" over 

During these old times, it was not an unusual sight to 
see, during fall and winter months, droves of fat hogs some- 
times 300 or 400 head on the roads driven hundreds of 
miles from Kentucky and Tennessee. The dealers drove 
them along the public roads from town to town, from state 
to state, looking for purchasers. It must have taken a long 
time to dispose of them even at low prices for the majority 
of the people raised their own supply of pork, and many 
of them had a surplus for sale. This will interest boys and 
girls of the Pig Clubs of today. 

On one occasion during court week General Chambers, 
who was keeping hotel, finding his house full of guests 
and no coffee to serve could find in the whole town nothing 
but a cheap, shabby-looking, small grain, greenish coffee, 
which he parched and served. To his surprise the guests, 
one and all, praised the coffee and inquired the price and 
brand. With its appearance in mind he quickly replied that 
it was "seed tick" brand. This circumstance was said to 
have made this coffee famous and it is still sold as "seed 
tick" coffee. 

Page Forty-six 

1 remember well the first show I ever saw, it was an 
Indian exhibition, known as tl>e "Kashawgance Indian 
Company", consisting of an Indian chief, a few other 
Indian men, some Indian women and one small l)oy, travel- 
ing in wagons. As it was a bad, rainy day when they were 
in Roxboro, they used the court house instead of the tent. 
The only act of the show which I now call to mind, was 
that of Pocahontas saving the life of Capt. John Smith. 
It seemed so real to me that I have never forgotten the 
scene. At night the Indian chief lectured in the court 
house to a good crowd on the life and habits of the red 
men. The lecture was highly complimented. Many of our 
people, having never seen an Indian before, were much 
interested in them, espeially in the little boy. 

The first animal circus and show the writer ever saw 
was on the lot near the place where the Methodist church 
now stands. This was Robinson & Eldrids Exhibition and 
the act that made the most lasting impression on me was 
that of a lady putting her head in a lion's mouth, a very silly 
and foolish act. This was considered a great show. 

Roxboro, N. C. 

February 3, 1915. 


Editor Courier: 

Having been requested by a granddaughter of one of 
the old pioneer preachers of this county to give the preach- 
ers of my early life a writing, this I will attempt to do, 
giving a list of their names as I remember them, as well as 
the denomination to which they belonged. 

As the Primitive Baptists were the first preachers whose 
services I attended I will give their names first. They 
were : Elders Ingram Chandler, John Stadler, William 

Page Forty-seven 

Burns, Elder Wells (a blind preacher), Hensley, Andrew 
N. Hall and Durham Hall his father, David R. Moore, 
James J. Scoggins, George T. Coggin, R. D. Hart, John 
H. Daniel, Ross, Bell, Drewry Seit, Dameron, P. D. Gold, 
L. I. Bodenheimer and C. B. Hassell. Elder John Stadler 
was considered by his people one of the greatest preachers 
of his time and had a large following. Elder A. N. Hall, 
who was pastor of churches in this county for more than 
fifty years, was a great preacher, highly esteemed, not only 
by his own churches and people, but by the people in gen- 
eral, both in this and other counties. Several of these 
preachers lived in the eastern part of the State but made 
preaching tours up the country as far as this and other 
sections west of us. 

The Missionary Baptist preachers whom I remember in 
the "long ago" were : Elders James King, Stephen Pleas- 
ant, Brown, John E. Montague, Elias Dodson, F. M. Jordan, 
Elder Waitte, J. J. James, Poindexter (of Virginia), Robert 
Jones and John Mitchell, J. D. Hufifham, Dr. Wm. Oakley, 
and Sam Mason. Some of these were considered great 
preachers. One of them, Elder F. M. Jordan, has been preach- 
ing more than sixty years. Elder Dodson was an eccentric 
brother, and traveled most of his life as agent for missions, 
especially "Indian Missions," which was his great hobby. 
Many of the older people remember him well at this late day. 

The Methodist ministers whom I remember in early 
and middle life, were: Revs. Ira T. Wyche, Alford Nor- 
man, Jas. Jamieson, Benj. M. Williams, J. P. Moore, T. 
W. Moore, Jas. Reid, Fletcher Reid, William M. Jordon, 
P. W. Archer, Lewis, S. S. Bryant, T. A. Boone, Jas. H. 
Brent, W. R. Webb, H. H. Gibbons, W. E. Pell, Tillett, A. 
W. Mangum, and Jesse Page. Many of these men were 
eminent preachers. 

The next in point of numbers are the Presbyterians, 
who had but a small following in the county and still have 

Page Forty-eight 

only one or two cliurchcs : Revs. Addison Stanfield, who 
lived in the county, Hines, of Mikon, and T. U. Faucett. 
of Orange county, held services in the Court House or in 
the Methodist church in Roxboro at stated times. This 
was before the Presbyterian church was built. 

Tiie Episcopalians had only one church in the county, 
Cunningham's Chapel. 

The first sermon I remember to have heard was at old 
Wheeler's Church near Gordonton. Though a small boy 1 
recall many circumstances connected with my trip there, 
and what I saw on the way. The greatest thing was the 
sight of the Gordon residence, which was new and had 
just been painted snowy white. This being the first white 
house I had seen it made a lasting impression on my young 
mind. I thought then this must be a heaven below, and 
that no care or trouble could enter its white walls. The 
preacher on this occasion was Elder Ingram Chandler, then 
a popular Primitive Baptist pastor. I still remember some 
of the people whom I saw there, and the manner of the 
preaching, singing and the good attention to the preaching 
by the congregation. I thought then that all church mem- 
bers had a passport to Glory land. 

Roxboro, N. C. 

December 15, 1915. 


Editor Courier: 

In my last letter I wrote of the preachers of the various 
denominations who served in this county during my boy- 
hood days and middle life, but I overlooked the names of 
some, among whom was Rev. Solomon Lea, of Leasburg. 
who spent his life in school work and preaching the gospel 
in Person and Caswell counties. He was the first president 

Page Forty-nine 

of Greensboro Female College, but resigned this position 
and established the "Summerville Institute" for girls and 
young ladies at Leasburg, in Caswell county, which he 
kept up until the time of his death in 1896. 

Mr. Lea did a great work for the cause of education 
to which a great many ladies now living can testify. This 
school was patronized by Caswell, Rockingham, Person, 
Orange and other counties in North Carolina, and by 
Halifax, Pittsylvania and other counties in Virginia. It 
was in a great measure the life of the town socially and 
otherwise. No one has ever been found to fill the gap 
caused by the death of this good, sweet-spirited, useful 
man. Leasburg must have been a very healthful town, as 
it was noted for its old citizens, many living to be upward 
of 80 and some very near to 100 years of age. 

Other preachers omitted were Elders Jesse Mooney, Q. 
A. Ward and J. P. Tingen, of the Primitive Baptist faith. 
These have all, except one, passed to their reward. 

January 5, 1916. 


Mr. Editor: 

In this letter I shall give a list of the school teachers 
of my early years. 

My first teacher was Mr. James O. Bradsher, my next 
was Major Burnel Russell, next in order were William 
Whitfield, Franklin Yeallock, Moore W. Dollahite, James 
R. Foushee, my oldest brother, and Col. Plenry A. Rogers. 
Colonel Rogers taught the last school which I attended. 
This was in 1859, in the old brick Academy in Leasburg, 
near the town cemetery. Colonel Rogers had quite a large 
school of boys and young men, who taxed his time and 

Page Fifty 

patience to a high degree, as he had a house full and no 
assistant in the work. I can't, at this late day, see how 
he managed to get through it so well, giving general satis- 
faction to the boys and patrons of the school. Of all this 
crowd of boys who attended the school, there are but three 
or four now living that I am aware of. One of this number 
is my friend C. M. G. WagstatT, of the Concord section of 
this county (died since letter was written). 

I remember that old Mr. William Lea had a fine orchard 
of apples near the Academy to which the boys gave special 
attention ; we appropriated our full share of fruit without 
"leave or license." 

Leasburg then had a population of 300 or 350 includ- 
ing two schools, who were as good people as could be found 
anywhere. Situated near the Person line most of the 
families living there were either from Person county or 
closely related by marriage or other ties to the Person 
people. The school patronage was largely from this county. 
For a town of its size, it had a large trade, having several 
stores of good size for that day, run by popular merchants ; 
it had also wood shops, blacksmith, harness and saddle 
shops, a hotel, a tailor shop, a shoe shop, a picture gallery, 
tan yard, besides the two large schools. 

Leasburg produced many men of note, among them 
was Hon. Jacob Thompson, member of President Buchan- 
an's cabinet, also of President Davis' cabinet of the Con- 
federate States. It was claimed by some people that in 
surveying the line between Caswell and Person for a di- 
vision, Leasburg ought to have been given to Person county 
by right. 

The other teachers in this county whom I remember 
were Wilson Yeallock, Thomas J. Farrar, Plosea A. Carver, 
Henry J. Montgomery, Thomas T. Satterfield, James H. 
Woody, John M. Morton, James L. Wagoner, Samuel H. 
Horton, Q. A. Ward, Geo. M. Bradsher, Samuel Jacobs, 


Page Fifty-ofw 

Jones Drumright, Parham O'Briant, Mrs. W. O. Bowler, 
and later on were Miss Corinna Bradsher, Mrs. Bettie 
Brooks, Miss Sarah Gallagher, John W. Coleman, James 
Bradsher, Jr., John A. Bailey, Miss Brock Satterfield, Sam- 
uel Y. Brown, Obadiah Faulkner, Robert Jones, and W. 
T. Blackwell. Mrs. Richard Gordon also taught a select 
school for young ladies at Gordonton. Elder T. J. Horner 
established and taught a school at Bethel Hill for many 
years, which was re-established about 1888 and continued 
on a much larger scale by Rev. J. A. Beam until the 
school buildings and residences were burned at a great loss 
to him, as well as to the whole county. Mr. Beam and 
his good wife did a great work in promoting this school so 
long, more for the good of others than for themselves, ex- 
cept in the satisfaction of having given the helping hand 
to hundreds of young men and young women. All of these 
teachers, except four or five, have passed from the stage 
of action, leaving their imprint for good on the generations 
following them. 


January 10, 1916. 


Mr. Editor: 

In this letter I shall speak of the physicians who prac- 
ticed their profession in this county when I was a youth 
and during my middle life. 

I planned to do this many weeks ago but was delayed 
on account of the great calamity which has crossed my 
pathway recently in the death of my oldest son, Howard, 
who has fallen in the midst of his young manhood and 
usefulness, and whom 1 had hoped to have to lean on for 
comfort and advice in my declining years. For a long time 

Page Fifty-two 

after this sad occurrence I felt very little like writing or 
doing anything else. 

These are the names of the doctors as 1 remember 
them: The first one 1 think of was James McMullen, my 
father's family physician, away back in 1846. Then come 
Doctors Durham; Gibson; James Lea, of Leasburg; C. H. 
Bradsher, "Old Prac" as everybody called him, a very pop- 
ular physician, with a large practice all over the county; 
C. H. Jordan; John C. Terrell; Cook; R. C. Baynes ; Sam 
Jacobs; J. J. Thaxton ; J. A. Stanfield, of Leasburg; J. L. 
Sanford; William L Jordan; Dr. Brooks, of Milton; Wil- 
liam Strudwick, of Hillsboro; J. W. Plamlett, Richard 
Marable ; John H. Edwards ; Currie Barnctt ; and later on, 
come Drs. W. M. Terrell; John B. Bradsher; Thomas 
Oakley; Bob Hester; E. J. Robertson; Jake Thompson, of 
Leasburg; and E. A. Speed. All these have passed away 
and their places are filled by others who have adopted 
great changes in the manner of treatment of the diseases of 
the human body, but no improvement in their devotion to 
science and the good of their fellowmen. 

It was then the custom to wrap fever patients in blank- 
ets, even in hot weather; now the patient is put in ice to 
reduce fever. In former times they even bled for many 
diseases, which practice has now been entirely abandoned. 
It is said that George Washington in his last sickness was 
literally bled to death, in order to cure him. 

The doctor used to carry his drug store in his saddle 
bags, prescribe for the patient and compound the medicine 
on the spot. At that time, we must remember, drug stores 
were few and usually miles away, our nearest being distant 
twenty to thirty miles, at Milton, Hillsboro, Oxford or 


March 1, 1916. 

Page Fifty-three 


Dear Editor: 

In my last letter I told you about some of the doctors 
of the "long ago," as well as of some of more recent years, 
but I find that I omitted the names of a few whom I now 
recall: William Merritt, Junius T. Fuller, Charlie Brad- 
sher, John C. Dickens, all prominent physicians, while 
among the dental surgeons were : W. G. Bradsher, C. G. 
Siddle, and Carter Day. Dr. Siddle, an itinerant dentist, 
from Caswell county, operated in many sections of this 
county and had a large practice. At that time, however, 
people must have had better teeth than at present ; at any 
rate, there was not so much demand for the services of the 
dentist as now. Most of the work consisted of extracting 
and filling teeth. A full set of teeth on a plate was rather 
unusual, and, as little attention was given to the teeth, the 
services of the surgeon was not so much called for by the 
average person, except to extract the aching tooth ; and for 
this service even the medical doctor with set of forceps 

In speaking of the custom of bleeding for the cure of 
many diseases it is said that the barbers formerly, in addi- 
tion to their tonsorial work, bled sick people as a part of 
their profession; hence, the present day barber sign of 
white and red, representing the blood flowing from the 
naked arm. 

The old professional men have passed away and with 
them many of the old ideas and styles of practice, being 
succeeded by men with new and improved ideas, and re- 
cent discoveries and inventions. These men were often more 
than mere practitioners but were men of vision and had 
the true scientific imagination. This writer recalls hear- 
ing Dr. C. H. Jordan, late of Person county, speak, some 
forty years ago, of the possibility of the wireless telegraph 

Page Fifty-four 

and at that time described how it could be done. His plan 
to aconiplish it was just about the same as is now in use 
by the Marconi system. Of course he was considered a 
"dreamer" and a "crank." It would be rash to say that 
he was the first to think of this wonderful idea. He was 
a gifted and well educated man and pondered much on the 
lines of modern invention. I never thought anything more 
of the matter until the newspapers a few years ago began 
to discuss the discovery of the wireless system, which 
brought back to my mind the words of this gifted Person 
county physician. 

May 3, 1916. 


Editor Courier: 

After a long silence I have concluded to write you once 
more about the good old times "befo' de wah," giving the 
names of the merchants of the county, outside of Rox- 

First I will begin at Bushy Fork, my old home township, 
and name them consecutively in rotation around the county. 
William A. Bradsher (father of our Superior Court 
clerk) was the first merchant I ever knew. He sucessfully 
conducted a store at Bushy Fork, formerly known as "Nor- 
fleet's Store," for a great number of years doing a large 
business for a country store in those days. He was also 
a large farmer and mill ow^ner, and, in general, a prominent 
and useful man in his section, popular and much beloved. 
For one or two terms he was a member of the State Legis- 

The next in order was Robert H. Hester, father of 
the late Captain A. J. Hester. He was merchant, mill 
owner, one of our largest farmers and land owners and 

Page Fifty-five 

was possessed of large means. He was elected to the State 
Legislature several sessions, though he was not an office 
seeker. His was a case where the office sought the man 
and he was never defeated when he consented to accept 
a nomination, as he had the confidence of the people, and, 
I think, gave entire satisfaction to his constituents as a leg- 
islator. He was a Justice of Peace for many years, and a 
wise counsellor, whose advice was often sought by his 
neighbors when in trouble. He raised a large and sterling 
family of children, some of whom still survive. He was 
a popular, highly esteemed, and useful man. 

C. S. Winstead, merchant, lawyer, farmer, mill owner 
and all round business man, was a success in all his call- 
ings. He was in public life a great many years, as county 
attorney, member of both House and Senate, and revenue 
collector under President Grant. He was courtly in his 
manners and held many other offices of trust and served 
well his day and generation, being a useful and popular 
man. He was one of the largest land owners of our county, 
and had accumulated quite a large estate. He died in 
1908 at an advanced age of about 84 years. 

William G. Winstead, of Olive Hill, merchant and 
farmer of large means, was a prosperous and useful man 
in the county. He never aspired to any office, though he 
was, I think, Justice of Peace in his district for a long time, 
and a county commissioner for one or two terms after 
the war, a good man and popular in his section. 

The next in order was Col. John W. Cunningham, 
father of our Col. John S. Cunningham, merchant, farmer, 
mill owner, legislator, and all round business man. He was 
most successful in business and was the largest land owner 
and farmer and wealthiest man of our county in his day. 
He was elected to the State Legislature and served in both 
houses many times, or as often as he would have it. He 
was never defeated in an election for any office, which is 

Page Fifty-six 

evidence of his popularity witli the people of his native 

John Rogers, of Woodsdale, was merchant and farmer, 
who successfully conducted a business for many years at 
that point, both as merchant and moderately large farmer. 
Some of his descendants are still living in that section. 

The next were A. Bailey and Company (Albert Bailey 
and Alex Walker, both farmers), who conducted a store 
about half a mile south of Bailey's Bridge and commanded 
a good trade for years; Mr. Bailey died and Mr. Walker 
moved to Durham, where he spent the latter part of his life. 

John F. Neal, I think, had a store at his home in Hol- 
loways Township, and David Holloway merchandised for 
years at Daysville in the same township. 

The next in the round was Major James Street, father 
of our esteemed fellow citizen, T. H. Street, Esq., at Mill 
Creek. He was a merchant, farmer, mill owner, conducted 
a store there for many years, owned much land and farmed 
on a large scale. He was very successful in business and 
was perhaps the wealthiest man in the township. 

The next in order were Bentley Vaughan and Sweaney, 
at or near Moriah, merchants, farmers, and sawmill men. 

At Moriah also was M. D. C. Bumpass, who was a 
merchant and farmer and who made a success. 

The next in order were Allen and Royster, at Allens- 
ville (H. Royster and T. T. Allen), who were success- 
ful in business. 

At Center Grove was the firm of Day & Townsend, 
who sold goods several years, and were succeeded by Ben. 
A. Thaxton, merchant and farmer, who continued the 
business the rest of his life. 

William T. Noell, at Mt. Tirzah, was a merchant, 
farmer, tailor, Justice of the Peace and a county commis- 
sioner for the last thirty years of his life, a good business 
man, a popular, useful and much-beloved citizen. He it 

Page Fifty-seven 

was, as I have stated before, that introduced the sewing 
machine into North Carolina. Mr. Noell was never an 
office seeker, but had tact and talent, fitting him to fill ac- 
ceptably any office within the gift of his county people. 

Thomas Webb, at Hurdle's Mill, was merchant, farmer 
and mill owner. 

J. A. Lunsford and Brother, at "High Hill," near old 
Flat river church, were merchants, farmers, mill owners 
and tobacco manufacturers. They were large dealers for 
a small country village and at one time kept the finest stock 
of goods in the county. 

The next and last I can recall was Augustin Van Hook, 
at VanHook's mill, about a mile west of Paines Tavern. 
He had a store, mill, and farm and lived on the farm, lately 
occupied and owned by the late Lewis S. Morton. Mr. 
VanHook moved from the county to the South or West 
when the writer was a small boy. 


June 28, 1916. 


Editor Courier: 

I have heretofore given you the names of the merchants 
of the county during and prior to the Civil War ; but I find 
that I omitted the name of John ("Jack") D. Wilkerson, 
who conducted a store for years in the front yard at his 
home (Buck Walker place) in Holloways Township. He 
afterwards joined in partnership with Gabe Jones and 
moved the store to the opposite side of the road in front 
of the old Billy Link place. 

The object of this letter is to give you a list of the 
tobacco manufacturers of the county in those old by-gone 
days. I shall begin in Roxboro. First of all were Satter- 

Page Fifty-eight 

field and Dickens, whom I have mentioned before. They 
were the pioneers in the tobacco business here and they 
carried it on successfully. As no license or stamp tax was 
required anyone could engage in the business who cared 
to. After a few years Mr. Dickens died and was succeeded 
by Geo. W. Trotter, and the business was continued under 
the firm name of Satterfield and Trotter. After a few 
more years Trotter died and was succeeded by Ab Barnett, 
the firm name being Satterfield and Barnett. Satterfield 
and Barnett carried on the business until the close of the 
Civil War. Another was the firm of Winstead & Co. (John 
M. Winstead, E. G. Reade and C. S. Winstead). Both 
these firms made "flat tobacco" as plug tobacco was called, 
distinguishing it from the home-made twist. It was packed 
in plain oak boxes made in the factory, containing about 
40, 50 or 100 pounds each. It was usually branded "Pound 
Lumps" in addition to the trade mark, the plugs weigh- 
ing four and eight ounces. They made no twist or smok- 
ing tobacco, as smoking tobacco in commercial shape was 
very little known. Tobacco was scarce at the close of the 
war and brought good prices, for war disorganized labor, 
and, in fact, all our labor then was needed to raise supplies 
for the army and folks at home. Being a luxury, it could 
be dispensed with in a measure, though the soldiers of the 
Confedrate army were supplied with tobacco rations most 
of the time during the war, and it was said they often 
swapped it to the Yankee soldiers for coffee as they had 

Reade and Norwood also operated a tobacco factory 
in Roxboro. for many years before and after the war, as 
did John G. Dillehay and Company. 

Tobacco manufacturers also were J. A. Lunsford and 
Brother, at High Hill, near the present home of Mrs. Joe 
L. Wilkerson. They had quite a little town there then, 
all their own, consisting of a tobacco factory, store, wood- 

Pagc Fifty-nine 

shop, blacksmith shop, tan yard, drug store and several 
residences. It was the home also of a local physician. 
But there is little sign now of this "city," only a residence 
or two left to tell of the bustle of the past. 

James I. Cothran manufactured tobacco on a small 
scale for years near Mt. Tirzah and Ike Allen near Old 
Wheeler's Church, and Haywood Williams at his home 
near Cunningham. Chas. G. Mitchell was also an old 
manufacturer of tobacco at his home near Woodsdale, as 
were also Jesse and Alex Walker, at Daysville. 

The manufacture of smoking tobacco had not then be- 
gun as a business; nor was yellow or fiue-cured tobacco 
known. About the year 1857 Thomas Slade, a farmer 
of near Locust Hill, Caswell county, made the discovery 
by accident. In those days everybody tried to cure by 
sunshine or with wood burned in trenches under their to- 
bacco hanging in barns. Mr. Slade's wood ran short and 
having a lot of charcoal on hand conclvided to substitute 
the coal for wood, burning the coal in the trenches instead 
of the wood, and he found that the tobacco cured up a 
yellow color instead of red. This seemed a miracle, some- 
thing "new under the sun" and it created quite a sensa- 
tion all over the tobacco region. Other farmers soon 
caught on and used charcoal too, thus introducing the 
yellow weed all over the tobacco-growing belt of North 
Carolina and Virginia. After this, sheet-iron flues were 
introduced, which made the curing of yellow tobacco more 
convenient and saved labor and time. I heard Hon. Geo. 
W. Brooks, brother to Mr. JeiT Brooks, of Woodsdale, 
claim that he was the first man that ever suggested the 
use of sheet-iron flues for the curing of tobacco. 

When first offered on the markets, this yellow tobacco 
sold for fabulous prices. Up to this time the prevailing 
prices for red tobacco ranged from $2.50 to $10.00 and 
$12.00, a hundred pounds. An average of $7.00 to $9.00 all 

Page Sixty 

round wa;^ considered a good price ; but yellow or "coal 
cured" tobacco sold so high that most of the farmers in 
this Piedmont section were soon raising the "golden weed" 
and selling it for golden prices. The news spread like fire 
and soon Eastern North Carolina and South Carolina took 
up the raising of tobacco and even beat us at our own 
game, at least in brightness of color, if not in quality. 
Thus they killed our monopoly on fancy bright tobacco. 

In the old days of red tobacco, a rather amusing and 
unusual circumstance occurred on the warehouse sale floor 
in Clarksville, Virginia, which was the main tobacco market 
for this whole section. Old man John D. Clayton, of Per- 
son county, and one of the most honest men in it, had a 
load of tobacco on the floor. It was being sold and the 
price of one pile had gone up as high as $40. The old 
man got excited and rushing among the bidders told them 
to stop bidding, that $40 was more than it was worth. This 
circumstance gave him the name of "Forty Dollar" John 
Clayton ever afterward. At this time $15.00 was con- 
sidered a high price. 

Up to the time of the yellow tobacco period, our farmers 
did not put so much stress on raising tobacco as they have 
since, but raised supplies of "hog and hominy" and almost 
everything else to live on. 


August 29, 1916. 


Mr. Editor: 

In 1857 railroads were few, and in Person county they 
were things that we felt belonged to other and distant com- 
munities. Henderson depot on the old Raleigh and Gaston 
Railroad (now a part of the Seaboard Air Line), was 
our nearest shipping point, 40 miles distant. At that time 

Page Sixty-one 

the Baltimore and Ohio Road, in West Virginia, was the 
nearest railroad to the west of us. The old North Caro- 
lina road to the south of us was not completed, nor was 
the Richmond and Danville, north of us. Our county was a 
part of a wide stretch of country without railroad facilities. 
My first sight of a railroad was with Mr. J. A. Lunsford, 
for whom I was clerk in his store. On the morning of 
the 2d of March we left his home near Roxboro in his 
carriage for Oxford, and spent the night at the Oxford 
Hotel, kept by Samuel A. Williams. We left Oxford at 
daybreak next morning, the 3d, on the stage (mail coach) 
for Henderson, arriving there for breakfast at Alley's 
Hotel. Here I first saw a railroad and train. We boarded 
the train and I began my first railroad ride from Hender- 
son to Weldon. We took dinner at the Weldon Hotel, 
kept by W. W. Harper. We left Weldon about two 
o'clock in the afternoon on the Petersburg and Weldon 
Railroad, for Petersburg, Virginia, arriving at Peter.sburg 
about dark. There we took supper at the Bollingbrook Hotel 
kept by Thomas W. Epps. We left Petersburg after dark 
on the Petersburg and Richmond Railroad arriving in Rich- 
mond early in the night, and left Richmond for Washing- 
ton, on the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Rail- 
road, but making the latter part of the journey by boat. 
We reached Washington about sun-up, and I had my first 
view of our great national Capitol. This was on the 4th 
of March, the day on which James Buchanan was inaug- 
urated President of the United States. We did not re 
main to witness the inauguration, but went on by the Balti- 
more and Ohio Railroad to Baltimore. We stopped at the 
Fountain Hotel, kept by J. W. Clabaugh, and after spend- 
ing a few days in Baltimore buying a stock of goods, we 
went on to Philadelphia via the Philadelphia, Wilmington 
and Baltimore Railroad. Here we stopped at the Ameri- 

Page Sixty-two 

can Hotel. In Philadelphia we bought a part of our stock 
of goods. On our return home we spent a day in Peters- 
burg concluding our purchases. 

This was a big trip for me, which I have never for- 
gotten, and I still remember the names of most of the 
firms from whom we bought goods in each city. 

No through tickets were sold, nor through trains run. 
Each road sold tickets, and ran trains for itself. We had 
to change cars and buy tickets at each road terminus, and 
look after our own baggage, as there was no checking bag- 
gage through. We bought tickets at Henderson, Weldon, 
Pe'tersburg, Richmond, Washington and Baltimore. It took 
two and a half days and nights of travel to go from Person 
county to Baltimore, a trip one can now make in about 
twelve hours, with two hours to spare on the way. 

We had to change cars on arrival in each city. There 
were no street cars and to go from one depot to another we 
had to go through the city by private conveyance or on 
the "omnibus of the line," paying extra for transportation 
of ourselves and baggage. On arriving in the city of 
Baltimore, there were so many people on the streets it 
looked to me as if it must be "court day." 

Everything looked novel and strange to a boy of eigh- 
teen from the "backwoods" on his f^rst visit to a great 
city, but I hugely enjoyed seeing the big stores and various 
things of interest. In Philadelphia, I visited Independence 
Hall Girard College, Franklin's grave, and other places 
of note. I gratefully remember that Mr. Lunsford took 
much interest in having me see the things worth while. I 
recall that the conductor on my first train from Henderson 
was not dressed in railroad uniform, but in a black suit with 
Prince Albert coat and a "high-top" black silk hat, gold 
watch and ^hain and was as polite as a "dancing master," 
and proud of his job. This may have been Captain Tim- 

Page Sixty-three 

berlake, who served the Raleigh and Gaston Road, I think, 
for over fifty years and was then pensioned for the rest 
of his life. 


January 20, 1920. 

1861 to 1865 

Editor Courier : 

In the Civil War although North Carolina was slow to 
leave the old compact, it sent more soldiers to the field, it is 
claimed, than any other Southern State. Our little county 
of Person, 20 miles square, put in the field 800 to 1,000 
men, taking them from 17 to 55 years of age. Four full 
companies of 100 men each went as volunteers from the 
county in the early part of the war and a great many en- 
listed in companies from other counties. A large number 
was drafted, and later as a last resort a great many more 
were conscripted to fill depleted ranks and sent to the camps 
of instruction to fit them for service in the ranks. The boys 
under 18 were called the Junior Reserves and the men over 
45, Senior Reserves, thus taking them "from the cradle to 

Enthusiasm ^vas so great in the early stage of the con- 
flict it was impossible to obtain guns and munitions of war 
to equip the boys who were ready and anxious to go to the 
front. Excitement ran high ; drums, fifes and brass bands 
were heard on all sides. The boys were eager for the 
fray and even afraid the war might end before they had 
a chance at the "Yankees." 

After the first year of the war when Southern seaports 
were closed and there was no exchange of cotton and tobacco 
in foreign trade we had to depend almost entirely on home- 
made goods and supplies of all kinds, even for guns and all 
war ammunition. It was very difficult at times to procure even 

Page Sixty-four 

salt ; the people finally dug up the dirt floor in their smoke 
houses and extracted the salt there. Our good women brought 
out their old hand looms, spinning wheels, cotton and wool 
cards which had been laid aside for years, spun and wove 
dress goods for themselves, cloth for men and boys, cloth- 
ing, blankets, sheets, counterpanes, stockings, socks, and in 
fact almost everything to wear. They made and "wore 
their homespun dresses with much grace" as the old Dixie 
song expresses it. A great many things of necessity and 
especially of luxury had to be abandoned wholly; for in- 
stance, parched corn, wheat and rye were substituted for 
cofTee, home-made sorghum for sugar and molasses. Sor- 
ghum was called "long sweetening." Pine knots and tallow 
dip candles, home-made hats for the ladies, their own make 
and fashion, wool hats for men and boys made at home, 
wood bottom shoes and many other substitutes were resorted 
to from necessity. 

During the last year of the war prices "soared like the 
lark ;" for instance, cofTee, when it could be had at all, sold 
for $15.00 to $25.00 a pound; nails, $10.00 a pound; a 
bunch of cotton warp, $100.00; flour, $100.00 a barrel, 
horses, $1,000.00 to $3,000.00 each, and other things in 
proportion. These prices were, of course, in depreciated 
money, which was more plentiful than anything else. Many 
of our people had invested their money in Confederate 
bonds and lost all with the downfall of the new govern- 
ment. The close of the war left the whole of the Southern 
country bankrupt, our money and bank currency worthless ; 
railroads and rolling stock were worn out; cities and farm 
houses in the war zone were burned down ; cattle, hogs, 
horses and sheep were stolen or killed. The negroes being 
set free, our best labor was gone. Desolation prevailed on 
every side and, worst of all, thousands of our best men 
were left on the battle field to return no more, and there 
were thousands of sad homes, widows and orphans. But 

Page Sixty- five 

such is war. General Sherman did not miss it much in his 
definition of war. 

Roxboro's and Person county's contribution to the war 
was most worthy. John Graves Dillehay was the first cap- 
tain of the first company of volunteers that went to the 
war from this county in April or May, 1861. John L. 
Harris was captain of the second, John C. VanHook of 
the third, John G. Jones of the fourth, James Holman 
succeeded Dillehay as captain of the first company. Cap- 
tains Harris, VanHook and Jones were all promoted to the 
rank of Colonel. In fact, as I remember, Colonel Jones 
was made a brigadier general by the War Department for 
gallant service on the battle field. He was killed in action 
near Petersburg before he took command of his brigade. 
Among all the men and boys who went to the "front" from 
this county only about 135 or 140 are still with us. But 
they are no longer "boys." They are now the old men of 
the county. 

During the war period the population of Roxboro increas- 
ed to about 400 or 450, several families having moved in, 
among whom were J. D. Wilkerson, H. R. Boshammer, shoe- 
maker; W. P. Wilkins, lawyer; Col. J. W. Hunt, saddle 
and harness maker; W. H. Smith, sheriflF; Geo. W. Nor- 
wood, tobacco manufacturer; Dr. J. T. Fuller; S. C. 
Barnett, lawyer; Jas. T. Critcher, buggy and wagon maker, 
and William H. Foushee, wood worker and buggy manu- 

These new comers added much to the business and 
social status of the town. In 1861, a bank was 
organized here with a cash capital of $25,000.00 known 
as the bank of Roxboro, with Hon. E. G. Reade, presi- 
dent, and Col. C. S. Winstead, cashier, but soon closed 
its doors as a necessity of war. New stores were opened 
by Hamlin and Hunt, Wright and Clay, Barnett and O'- 
Brien and others, but they all went out of business before 

Page Sixty-six 

the war closed. At tliis time goods of every kind were 
so scarce that it was difTicult to find or purchase anything 
at all, even writing material, pocket knives or handker- 
chiefs. But conditions changed rapidly when peace was 

October 20, 1914. 


Editor Courier : 

In this number of reminiscences I have decided to 
give as near as I can a list of all the old Confederate sol- 
diers now living belonging to the Jones Camp of U. C. V., 
No. 1206, Person county, nearly all of whom are still res- 
idents of this county. The most of them were natives of 
this county and enlisted here for the war. 

J. A. Long, commander of camp, A. R. Foushee, adju- 
tant, J. Y. Allen, A. V. Allen, John H. Burch, Thomas W. 
Blackard, Sam Bowes, George W. Burch, W. A. Blaiock, 
Marion T. Carver, John S. Coleman (captain), Levi M. 
Cothran, William D. Cothran, L. B. Chandler, Alex Clay- 
ton, Sol D. Clayton, Ralph Clayton, Thomas T. Clayton, 
Stephen A. Clayton, J. W. Duncan, James J. Dixon, Robert 
J. Day, T. C. Ellis, Haywood Foushee, Stephen P. Gentry, 
Ben M. Gentry, Geo. D. Stephens, D. W. Thaxton, John L. 
Wiley, Henry Spec Williams, T. J. Warren, James E. 
Yancey, E. B. Reade, W. S. Lawson, James M. Long, 
Byrd Long, J. J. Brooks, James R. Gooch, John Whitt, 
D. C. Cozart, Dr. P. G. Pritchett, David A. Hicks, F. 
M. Clayton, James Matt Brooks, Pleasant T. Gentry, 
John J. Hudgins, James B. Hudgins, D. Harris, J. W. 
Hicks, Smith C. Humphries, Thomas J. Jones, William 
Latta, A. M. Long, J. P. Long, Wesley Laws, S. M. Long, 

Page Sixty-seven 

George W. Moore, James S. Noell, E. M. O'Briant, S. R. 
Parham, George B. Pearce, William J. Ragan, Richard T. 
Ramsey, John E. Smith, A. D. Talley, Charles W. Loftis, 
John J. Coleman, J. R. Hayes, Frank M. Daniel, W. H. 
Holsomback, Stephen M. Lee, W. R. Neal, James H. Barn- 
well, D. C. Lunsford, John D. Harris, David Slaughter, 
W. C. Lawson, George G. Moore, George F. Holloway, 
James A. Carver, Joseph Pointer, D. Frank Oakley, John 
Mcjones, R. W. Jones, Sam Glenn, S. T. Covington, James 
B. Blackwell, John Oakley, Alex Bowen, J. J. Raines, Gid 
Davis, Kemp Walker, G. G. Morton, John Ed Owen, John 
M. Thaxton, Jordan T. Thaxton, Joseph Bowling, A. D. 
Moore, A. J. Holsomback, Sidney Moore, James E. Barker, 
William T. Wilson, William T. Ragan, William M. Loftice, 
Samuel H. Gates, C. M. G. Wagstaff, E. B. Barker, Thomas 
Ragan, John H. Strange, J. R. Long, J. L Long, R. D. 
Malone, W. R. Stewart, W. S. Barnwell, George W. Hol- 
somback, Jesse Long, William F. Reade, J. B. Wright, John 
E. Harris, Richard J. Clayton, M. M. Featherston, S. T. 
Pittard, R. B. Beasley, R. H. Hubbard, John R. Perkins, 
Taylor Jackson, T. J. Terrell, C. C. Woody, Ruffin Davis, 
J. R. Flunter, John W. Ellison, James M. Ellison, Loftin 
Scott, R. H. Oakley, James Barker, A. J. Hamlett, A. P. 
Edwards, S. C. Rice, Moses S. Jones, John A. Tucker, and 
J. T. Yancey. 

In this list there are a few, perhaps a dozen, who do 
not live in this county now, some in Caswell and Orange 
counties and some in Virginia, and about as many who 
have moved in from other counties. The majority of 
these old soldiers came out of the war penniless, or worth 
very little in the way of this world's goods, but by industry 
and hard work they have made good and are of our best 
citizens. Nearly all of them are farmers and have succeeded 
well. May they live long to enjoy the laurels won in the 
days that "tried men's souls." 

Page Sixty-eight 

I think Mr. T. W. Blackard is the oldest man in the 
above list and it would be hard to find a better man or a 
finer Christian gentleman. I have known him well for 
about half a century. 


December 8, 1914. 



Mr. Editor: 

As a result of the Civil War, the county, and the whole 
South as well, was in a dilapidated, rundown condition. 
Poverty and distress were on every side. Fortunately the 
war closed in April, just in time for the returning sol- 
diers, who were farmers, to "pitch" a crop. They went to 
work with a will and determination to succeed and to build 
up again the waste places, and they succeeded well, consid- 
ering the disadvantages under which they labored. Prov- 
idence smiled on them and their labors produced bountiful 
crops as a result of their industry. 

There was a great demand for carpenters ; farm houses 
and all other buildings had become dilapidated and much in 
need of repairs and remodeling. But the lack of ready 
money to pay the bills was the great problem to be solved. 
The short tobacco crops for the last two years of the 
war period caused money to be very scarce, and our people 
resorted in part to a barter trade, exchanging everything 
they could spare from the farm with the merchants. A 
trade was even got up on rabbits, rabbit skins, partridges, raw 
hides, furs, farm produce of all kinds, lightwood, sumac, 
and other things too tedious to mention. 

This reminds me of a story I read about that time, of 
an incident in the mountain section of Virginia. A drum- 

Page Sixty-nine 

mer pulled up at a country store on the mountain side and 
went in to sell the merchant some goods. Before he could 
show his samples a countryman came in and after looking 
around in the store, saw a box of tobacco and bought a 
plug of it for ten cents. He took out of his pocket a 
mink skin to pay the bill, the merchant giving him a fox 
skin as change. He then bought twenty-five cents worth of 
something else and received back a squirrel skin as change. 
Next he bought a paper of pins for ten cents, giving the 
merchant back the squirrel skin and receiving a rat skin as 
change. His next purchase was a paper of needles for five 
cents and in payment he gave the merchant back the rat 
skin, which closed the deal, and he rode away. The drum- 
mer was astonished, remarking that in all his travels he 
had not come across such currency. The merchant told 
him that once in about every six months the fur dealer 
came around with his wagon and paid him cash for the 
furs, this being his opportunity to secure ready money. 
However, we were not quite so bad off in Person, for 
there was some gold and silver in our country which had 
been brought out from old stockings and other hiding places 
during the war, and we also had a little tobacco and cotton, 
which found ready sale at good prices. This afforded 
great relief in this emergency. 

There was about this time — in the summer of 1865 — a 
sale here of a large lot of government horses, mules, wagons, 
and harness, which had been mostly taken home by Con- 
federate soldiers and which had been forcibly seized by the 
United States government from the people, brought here, 
advertised and publicly sold. This sale amounted to between 
five and ten thousand dollars cash. The farmers were in 
great need of teams and wagons and paid big prices for this 
property so that everybody wondered where the money 
came from to pay with. This seizure by the Federal gov- 
ernment was felt to be an injustice and an outrage. 

Page Seventy 

The poor Confederate soldier was deprived of all that he 
had saved and brought home from his four years' service 
in the ranks. In some instances the soldier bought back 
the same mule or horse that he rode home from the army. 
By the fall of the year (1865) the merchants of the 
town, George Norwood and J. A. Long (Norwood & 
Long), Chesley Hamlen, James H. and John D. Paylor 
(Paylor Brothers), Green D. Satterfield and A. 1\. Foushee 
(trading as Satterfield and Foushee), and a few others 
opened up full stocks of goods and merchandise in Rox- 
boro, as did some few country merchants, and had a lucra- 
tive trade. The sight of a full store of goods was as big 
a show as a circus. People came from far and near to 
trade ; even a side of red sole leather, something we had 
not had for years, looked good and sold for 75 cents a 
pound. Goods of all kinds were scarce and high, even 
up North among the factories, when compared with the 
present quantities and prices ; yet they were cheap compared 
with Confederate prices, to which we had been accustomed 
during the war period. It was not long before the country 
was fully stocked with all kinds of goods, wares and mer- 
chandise; prices declined with the price of cotton which had 
sold for forty cents at the close of the war, but soon went 
down to fifteen or sixteen cents. Real estate felt the grav- 
itation to lower prices perhaps more than any other prop- 
erty. The negro being set free, his anxiety to enjoy his 
new-found freedom made his labor and services, as might 
have been expected, a very uncertain commodity. The scar- 
city of labor meant idle land, which was aggravated 
by scarcity of money. Few people wanted to buy land. 
Those who owned much land were considered "land 
poor," and lands which sold then at $1.50 to $2.00 per acre 
are now worth from $25.00 to $100.00 per acre. Although 
land was so cheap Peruvian Guano, the only commercial 
fertilizer then used in this section, sold in 1867 at $100.00 

Page Seventy-one 

to $110.00 per ton. These prices will look strange to the 
young farmers of today, who can buy their tobacco fertil- 
izers at about one-fifth of these figures. 

After a few years of progress our people realized the 
need of a new courthouse at the county seat, the old one 
being small and of antiquated style. Our magistrates and 
county commissioners took the matter under advisement 
and in 1883 built, a new courthouse and jail of more mod- 
ern style — yet not stylish enough to hurt — at a cost of about 
$10,000.00 and in the steeple they installed a clock at a 
cost of $750.00. 

Citizens who, as our town has grown, cast their lots with 
us during the years after 1865 have been: Elder J. J. 
Lansdell, Rev. J. H. Lamberth, W. H. Williams, R. H. 
Dowdy, Dr. C. G. Nichols, William H. Long, Willis I. John- 
son, R. K. Daniel, Richard T. Howerton, E. D. Cheek, 
James T. Sergeant, Robert A. Noell, John A. Noell, Joseph 
W. Noell, J. C. Pass, Woodson Thomas, Luther Thomas, 
George T. Thaxton, D. W. Bradsher, D. M. Andrews, 
Walter Woody, R. A. Pass, W. T. Pass, T. W. Pass, J. H. 
Carver, H. H. Masten, W. R. Hambrick, Flem Hamlett, 
Albert Clayton, H. G. Clayton, Dallas Long, R. A. Spencer, 
Samuel C. Barnett, Luther Thomas, Geo. W. Thomas, 
Woodson L. Thomas, Jno. M. O'Brient, A. S. DeVlaming, 
R. L Featherstone, Jno. J. Winstead, H. W. Winstead, T. 
W. Henderson, W. L. Lewis, C. H. Hunter, Victor Kaplan, 
Mr. Abbott (of Viccillo Bro. & Abbott), A. M. Burns, J. 
W. Chambers, E. B. Yancey, Jno. H. C. Burch, Henry 
Field, Jno. F. Reams, J. W. Algood, T. S. Clay, Dr. E. J. 
Tucker, Dr. R. J. Teague, W. H. Pulley, T. H. Street, Dr. 
J. A. Wise, H. Fields, J. S. Merritt, Capt. J. A. Tucker, 
D. W. Whitaker, S. P. Williams, C. H. Hunter, W. W. 
Kitchin, Eugene Bradsher, M. C. Winstead, J. S. Bradsher, 
F. B. Reade, L. D. Veazey, E. C. Veazey, Benj. Davis, 
R. W. Stephens, A. Lipshitz, W. L Newton, Jake Jones, 

Page Seventy-two 

\Vm. Jones, Jno. Blanks, Jas. H. Clayton, N. Lunsford, 
J. D. Morris, W. A. Mills, "w. C. Bullock, W. C. Watkins, 
W. J. Pettigrew, Jno. Pettigrevv, C. C. Cunningham, J. M. 
Pass, J. H. Pass, Ed Davis, T. E. Austin, L. G. Stanfield, 
Hugh \V. Foushee, Jake Loy, J. H. Perkins, II. J. Whitt, 
Frank Burch, Chas. A. Whitfield, T. C. Brooks, A. B. 
Stalvey. W. D. Merritt, L. M. Carlton, Baxter Allen, 
W. A. Winstead, Dr. B. E. Love, R. L. Chappell, Dr. O. P. 
Shaub. Hubert Morton, L. L. Lunsford, and Dr. Crisp. 


February 3, 1915. 


Mr. Editor : 

In a former letter I gave a list of the tobacco manufac- 
turers operating in this cojinty up to the close of the Civil 
War; I will now name those who ha.:? carried on this busi- 
ness in the county since that period, and I begin with those 
operating in Roxboro. 

First was Geo. W. Norwood, who perhaps did the 
largest business of all who have ever engaged in the to- 
bacco business in this county. His plant was burned 
about the year 1868 or 1870 and having no insurance he 
was so crippled that he was constrained to quit the busi- 
ness. His loss was estimated to be more than .$30,000.00. 
After this misfortune Mr. Norwood and his family moved 
to Winston, North Carolina. S. B. and W. H. W^ instead, 
brothers, made plug tobacco, but after a year or \\\o of 
doubtful success they sold their factory and fixtures to G. D. 
Satterfield and Company, who carried on thi? business for 
a year or two, when they in turn closed out to W. C. 
Satterfield and Geo. W. Jones, with firm name of Saner- 
field and Jones. They continued the business for only a 

Page Seventy-three 

few years. J. A. Long manufactured plug tobacco for a 
few years, but Roxboro was then so far from a railroad 
that he decided to discontinue the business. W. H. Win- 
stead and Chesley Hamlen made plug tobacco for a year 
or two. Mr. Hamlen moved to Winston and engaged in 
the same business there. Several parties have made smok- 
ing tobacco on a small scale, and among the number were 
James Wright, Moses Chambers, S. P. Satterfield and W. 
H. Winstead. Mr. Winstead had a brand called the "Rox- 
boro Ram" on which he had quite a run. If he had pushed 
it it might have rivaled the celebrated "Bull Durham" 
brand. S. B. Winstead and John S. Long (Winstead and 
Long), also made plug tobacco a year or two and gave 
it up because Roxboro was so far from a railroad. Natur- 
ally and by circumstances our town was quite a tobacco 
center, even before we had any leaf tobacco market here. 
Our factory men then bought their stock of leaf tobacco 
at the barn door or on the South Boston market and 
hauled it to RoxboTO. When they had manufactured it 
they hauled it back to South Boston and other points for 

There were at this time a few factories out of town. 
H. A. Reams, at "High Hill;" did a large business, also 
Chas. G. Mitchell, near Woodsdale, Brooks and Walker, 
at Daysville, and J. L Cothran, near Mt. Tirzah. They 
all soon discontinued, badly handicapped by lack of rail- 
road, warehouse and market facilities. Our neighbor- 
ing town, Leasburg, also had several tobacco factories at 
this time, and did quite a large business, but, like Roxboro, 
it was too far from transportation lines to make a success. 
Wilkf-rson and Fuller and R. P. Hancock were the largest 
operators at Leasburg. 

^Roxboro, N. C. 
Sept. 13, 1916. 

Page Seventy- four 


Editor Courier: 

A former letter brought us to about the year 1885 when 
the talk of a railroad to Roxboro was in the air. Most of 
our people had their doubts that it would ever be a reality; 
but my life-long neighbor, and a most enterprising citizen. 
J. A. Long, devoted himself to the task with all his 
characteristic energy and push, worked for this enter- 
prise day and night, wrote letters, traveled, talked 
much at home and abroad in an effort to get others 
interested in a railroad for Roxboro. After a hard 
fight, his etTorts were crowned with success, and the 
road was completed to our town in May, 1890. Had 
it not been for INIr. Long, I doubt that we would have 
had a railroad so soon. By the time the road reached us 
he was having a warehouse built for the sale of leaf to- 
bacco, and the market opened up at once. Later other 
warehouses were built, and we now have five excellent 
warehouses. This market sold in 1913 about seven million 
pounds at an average of $20.00, the total sales amounting 
to over a million and a quarter dollars. Between 1885 and 
1890 two banks were organized in Roxboro, the first one 
with a capital stock of $40,000, the other one $25,000, with 
J. A. Long president of the first, and E. B. Reade president 
of the other. Both institutions have prospered well, have 
withstood the financial panics which have come, and have 
met promptly all demands on them for ready money. In 
1907 they did not issue "script" as many other banks did 
when money was tight, in order to run the tobacco markets. 
By aid of these banks our market paid cash for every pile 
of tobacco sold, and paid as good prices for it as other 
markets. The president of one of our banks said that he 
had a machine making the money each night for the next 

Page Seventy-five 

day's tobacco sale. Whether this be true or not, the ware- 
house checks were always paid when presented. 

During this period the town took on a pronounced air 
of growth. Carpenters, brick layers and painters were 
busy providing houses to shelter the new citizens ; the saw, 
hammer and trowel made music on every side in a way 
unknown beforje. Quite a lot of property changed hands; 
a number of brick stores and shops were constructed to take 
the place of the old wooden houses ; three or four new 
churches were built for the white people and colored breth- 
ren also caught the spirit of progress and built three or four 
places of worship. Up to 1900, our population had in- 
creased considerably, and all found employment and thus 
helped to build up the town and county. 

Our local lawyers at this period were W. W. Kitchin, 
Col. C. S. Winstead, Jas. F. Terry, J. S. Merritt and Wm. 
T. Bradsher. 

I failed to state that the first newspaper ever printed 
here was established by D. W. Whitaker and J. B. Hunter 
about the year 1884. It did not succeed well financially 
and was afterwards purchased by Messrs. J. A. and J. W. 
Noell, who took in hand this paper, now The Roxhoro 
Courier, and have managed it with success ever since. 

Since writing my former letter, I take notice in the 
Courier of a communication entitled "More Reminiscences" 
from my friend Charles F. Clayton, of Tarboro, a native 
of Person county. It is so well written, informing and 
entertaining, especially to us older people, that I am grate- 
ful to him. I thank him very much for his kind references 
to me. 


December 12, 1914. 

Page Seventy-six 

1900 TO 1914 

Editor Courier : 

I will now speak of the progress made in our town 

since 1900. 

The first event of importance was the buildinc: of a 
cotton mill near the railroad station in 1901 or 1902, pro- 
jected and built under the direction of Mr. J. A. Long, 
president of the company and large stockholder. This mill 
was run with so much success and profit that the stock- 
holders and directors decided to enlarge the plant. In 1907 
•they increased the capital stock and built and equipped 
another mill of much larger proportions, two miles north 
of Roxboro on the railroad at the point formerly known 
as Reade and Hamlin's (later Pass') mill, on the Norfolk 
and Western Railroad. Both mills make only cotton yarns 
but consume twenty-five to thirty bales of cotton daily, run- 
ning some 25,000 to 30,000 spindles. The two mills cost 
upward of half a million dollars. An addition to the new 
mill is now being built, at an outlay of a hundred and fifty 
thousand dollars more. These mills will be propelled by 
electric power supplied by the Southern Power Co.'s plant 
located near Wadesboro, N. C. Other machinery here, too, 
will be run and the town lighted by this company. 

Quite a village has sprung up around the new mill, with 
a church, school and stores. The price of land near the 
mill has advanced from $10.00 to $50.00 or more per acre. 
Besides, the mill has brought much trade and business to 
Roxboro and vicinity and the advent of the Southern 
Power Co.'s electric line to our town opens up the way for 
other new industries. We have a fine back country, good 
farm lands which produce the best of tobacco, wheat, corn, 
oats, fruits and vegetables. Best of all, we have a splendid 
citizenship of honest, industrious people. 

We have good railroad, express and telegraph facilities, 
and also telephone lines to nearly every section of the 

Page Seventy-seven 

county as well as to the outside world. Our town has 
stores well stocked with goods, wares and merchandise, 
hardware, and agricultural implements, and everything 
needed to cultivate the farm. Also we have an excellent 
graded school of 300 to 400 pupils, and churches and Sun- 
day schools representing the leading denominations of the 
country, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian and Primitive 
Baptist. Our school facilities are good throughout the 
county. An educational spirit has been awakened among 
our people to an extent unknown before, and this is as it 
should be. 

The legal profession is now represented by Messrs. L. 
M. Carlton, W. D. Merritt, F. O. Carver, M. C. Winstead, 
C. G. Winstead, N. Lunsford and T. C. Brooks. The 
doctors of medicine are W. A. Bradsher, B. E. Love, C. G. 
Nichols, W. T. Long and C. G. Montague, and the dentists 
are E. J. Tucker, B. R. Long. B. R. Vickers, and A. P. 

We also have Masonic and Odd Fellows' organizations 
and the ladies have clubs and societies galore. 


December 23, 1914. 


Mr. Editor: 

The history of our county, so richly endowed with good 
tobacco lands has been closely connected with the history 
of commerce in tobacco and so, naturally, several of my 
letters have dealt with the manufacture and sale of tobacco. 
With your permission, therefore, I will give my recollec- 
tions of the origin of the celebrated "Bull Durham" brand 
of smoking tobacco. 

The "Buir brand originated in the genius of a 
Person county man, J. Ruffin Green, of Woodsdale, this 

Page S. vcnty-eight 

county. Some time about 1856 or 1857 his father, Mager 
Green, a farmer hving near Woodsdale, sold his farm 
to elder A. X. Mall, a Primitive Baptist minister, a 
neii^hbor and his pastor. Mr. Green expected to find soon 
another farm more to his liking, but after looking over the 
country for some time failed to do so, and being anxious 
to have his land back, called on Ur. Hall for this pur- 
pose. But as Mr. Hall desired the land himself he would 
not let Mr. Green have it back. Deeply disappointed he 
and his son Ruffin, therefore, set out to find homes elsewhere 
and after looking around for some time in this and other 
counties, they each bought farms about five miles from the 
then little station of "Durham's" of about 100 inhabitants, 
on the old North Carolina railroad in Orange county 
and moved there with their families and engaged in farm- 
ing. Pretty soon Mr. Ruffin Green deciding to add a side 
line to his farming activities, bought up a lot of leaf to- 
bacco and beat it up by hand into a granulated shape into 
smoking tobacco, and hauled it off in wagons to the eastern 
part of the State. He found a ready sale for it at good 
profit and soon made money with which to build a new 
frame residence and perhaps a small factory to run the 
business in. Just as the residence was about completed it 
was destroyed by fire and he had no insurance. Of course, 
he felt that he was financially ruined and did not know 

what next to do. 

After considering the situation for a while, he decided 
that, as the cost of hauling to the "depot" was considerable, 
it would be wise to buy land and move his family and 
business there, for land was cheap then. So he bought a 
tract of land in what is now the middle of the city, and 
built a factory and comfortable residence near the railroad 
station, and continued there the manufacture of smoking 
tobacco on a larger scale. He gave it the name of "The 
Bull Durham" smoking tobacco, and had the brand patented 

Page Scvcniy-nine 

or trade-marked for his protection. He increased the 
output and soon had a larger demand for his goods. The 
business ran on up to and during the Civil War. At its 
close the armies of Johnson and of Sherman were both dis- 
banded near Durham, and the soldiers of both armies, 
North and South, it was said, made depredations on the 
little factory, and carried off a large portion of the tobacco 
stored there. 

Mr. Green felt that he was again ruined, but it proved 
to the contrary, as it turned out to be the best and cheap- 
est advertisement he ever had, making the "Bull Brand" 
famous all over the country, North and South, bringing 
orders for it from every quarter and building up a big 
trade. Not long after the close of the war Mr. Green died 
and his father, Mager Green, his administrator, advertised 
in a Raleigh paper for about six months the sale of the 
factory and fixtures with the "Bull standing by." At last 
he found purchasers for the plant, and sold it to W. T. 
Blackwell (widely known as "Buck" Black well) and James 
R. Day, Person county boys, for a sum which would seem 
small at the present day for the beginning of such an im- 
mense business. 

These young men had already been engaged in a small 
way in making smoking tobacco in Person county, but dis- 
continued their Person business at once after buying the 
"Bull Brand" plant. Money was exceedingly scarce and 
hard to procure. It required grit to undertake to carry 
on this newly-bought enterprise. But they had had some 
experience in the tobacco business, and they paid what 
they could on it and borrowed money with which to push 
the business, which met with great success. After a few 
years Gen. J. S. Carr, then a young man, bought an inter- 
est in the business and with the addition of his talents and 
energy carried it on to greater success. 

Page Eighty 

The location of this plant made it necessary to have a 
leaf tobacco market in Durham, so Messrs. Henry A. 
Reams and Ak-x Walker, of Person county, moved to 
Durham and opened up and conducted the first leaf tobacco 
warehouse in that town. This enterprise was needed to 
furnish tobacco for this plant, and made a permanent mar- 
ket for a large section of the fuicst tobacco territory in 
the State. These enterprises, with many others, caused 
people to flock to Durham, where they engaged in many 
varied industries and the city has grown rapidly to be 
one of the largest in our State, and is perhaps the best 
known city of its size in the United States, or in the world. 

After some years Mr. Day sold his interest in the 
"Bull" factory to Messrs. Blackwell and Carr, his partners, 
who continued the business, enlarging the plant and increas- 
ing the output. After a few more years W. T. Blackwell 
sold his interest for a princely sum to Mr. McDowell, of 
Philadelphia, and the business continued to run under the 
management of Carr and McDowell until it was sold to 
or merged into the American Tobacco Company. 

The history of the origin and rise of this world- 
renowned smoking tobacco is thus interwoven with the 
lives of some of our strong and resourceful Person county 


Februarv 15, 1917. 

Page Eighty-om